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The Proximity Triathlon: On your mark, get set, go!

Ashleigh Went

We Canberrans are truly blessed.

Did you know that we are the most active city in Australia? A combination of excellent city and transportation planning, as well as a highly active community make Canberra a great city for a range of sports, particularly triathlons. We’ve got great cycling lanes and paths, beautiful trails, a massive number of health clubs and training groups, as well as a huge range of events on offer.

Triathlons have always seemed like the perfect summer sport to me. As the mercury rises over 30 degrees, I’ve often been tempted to launch myself into the sparkling (albeit grubby) waters of Lake Burley Griffin midway through a run or ride. I have to say though, until recently I’d been under the illusion that triathlons were only for really serious athletes. Mastering not one but three sports can seem a little overwhelming – but don’t let it put you off! There’s so much support available to beginners.

Want to get involved but don’t know where to start?

Take a leaf out of Maxine Feletti’s book. The Canberra mother of three is a lawyer at Proximity Legal, one of the key sponsors of the 2014 Proximity Government and Business Triathlon. Maxine describes herself as a “mum, part-time lawyer, volunteer firefighter, and home renovator”. And now “triathlete” has been added to that extensive list, as she takes on the running leg as part of a team with her colleagues at the Proximity Government & Business Triathlon next Saturday 28 February at Rond Terrace (near ANZAC Bridge).

“It’s an opportunity for people and their friends and networks to take part in some outdoor exercise, in a friendly environment, and raise some funds for the official charity, the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP),” Maxine explains.

“I work with Proximity – they have a great philosophy and approach to work, and it is very encouraging to see their active promotion of health, fitness and community through an event like this.”

The 2014 Proximity Government and Business Triathlon (originally rescheduled from November 2014 to this month) has two courses – the Enticer Triathlon and the Sprint Triathlon. Maxine is competing in the Enticer, a shorter course which Max says is “more suited to the ‘developing’ athlete, like myself”. A 200 metre swim, 10 kilometre bike ride, and a 2 kilometre run—it’s still a challenging course. Participating as part of a team, like Maxine, is a great way to get involved and see what it’s all about.

Max says “I am reliably informed that I run badly, and I have never timed how fast or far I can run. I don’t own a bike. There is a very good chance I would struggle to finish the swim leg which is why I am in a team.”

Like me, you’re probably wondering how on earth Max has time to fit in training between kids, work, and renovating her home.

“I can usually get half an hour of exercise after the kids have gone to bed in the evening,” she explains.

“While this is usually the first thing flicked when things get chaotic, I have always found exercise makes me more productive, clear headed and energetic. So it’s actually counter productive for me not to find the time to do it.

“I also think it’s really important to make some sort of investment in my own health, which I believe will yield benefits in the long run. If nothing else, it sends the right messages to kids.”

In addition to the physical ad mental benefits, Max is looking forward to the social element of the event.

“My team members are from an organisation I volunteer with and I am looking forward to taking part in this triathlon with them – it’s an activity we wouldn’t normally undertake together, but I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them as well as other like-minded people who are committed to the community in Canberra.

“I know that taking part will boost my confidence to take part in the next challenge.”

She adds “the idea of a Saturday morning away from nappies, soggy Weetabix and Dora is also compelling.”

If that’s not incentive enough, I don’t know what is.

If you’ve been inspired by Max’s story and want to get involved, there are a few ways to start. As both Acting Executive Director of Triathlon ACT and former beginner, veteran triathlete Brad Allan is perfectly positioned to give some tips to those looking to enter a triathlon…

Join a triathlon club novice program

Canberra-based clubs Bilbys, Females in Training and Vikings each run a seven-week triathlon preparation program during spring every year.  The “novice programs” provide structured training in swimming, cycling and running disciplines, but also prepare beginners for a life of improved health, nutrition and fitness. The programs also bring people together, with many lasting friendships made during the seven weeks and the years thereafter.

Training can be fun! 

One thing Brad has learnt through triathlon is how to train at my own level and pace when training alone, and how to push yourself in group training without causing injury. This leads to actually enjoying training, and when you enjoy training, it becomes easier to improve.  Which in turn makes racing fun too! By comparison, when you haven’t trained or push it too hard, you invite injury.


Even if you’ve trained the house down, going to the race site and having a ‘run-through’ the course is a great way to calm race-day nerves and give you an edge. Otherwise, race organisers always post maps and a course description online prior to the event describe all aspects of the race. It’s a great way to help prepare.

Be ready on race day

There is nothing worse than running late on race morning, or forgetting something (swim goggles, for example). One of Brad’s favourite parts of entering a race is prepping his kit the night before, checking bike tyre pressure and racking the bike onto his car, packing the transition kit with towel, running gear, food (energy bars and gels in particular), goggles, entry receipt etc. By bedtime, all he has to do the next morning is get dressed in his tri suit or swimmers and drive to the race site. Usually bike check-in and registration open a couple of hours before the race, so Brad tries to get there early and get a good spot for my bike and gear.

Enjoy the actual race! 

There are nearly always nerves before a race and that is part of the enjoyment of it. Getting in the water with fellow competitors there is a sense of camaraderie that is amazing for an essentially individual sport. You’ll also hear encouragement during cycle and run legs from fellow competitors. Triathlon is great in that people of all ages, abilities, sizes and shapes compete together, sharing the same course and difficulties – our oldest regular competitor is 87! At the end of the race you’ll be cheered home and will feel great, no doubt eager to learn when the next race will be on!

For more information on the Proximity Government & Business Triathlon, including the early registration special – please visit

The essentials

What: 2015 Proximity Government and Business Triathlon
Where: Rond Terraces, Parkes
When: Saturday 28
 February 2015
How much: 
Enticer Triathlon—$60 for an individual; between $105 and $160 for teams. Sprint Triathlon—$90 for an individual, $140 – $190 for teams.
How to register: Register online



Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author