ALL SMILES: Courtney Gillfillan (centre) celebrates after winning the Byron Bay Triathlon for the first time on Saturday.
ALL SMILES: Courtney Gillfillan (centre) celebrates after winning the Byron Bay Triathlon for the first time on Saturday. GedGoodwin

Numbers roll in for triathlon

BYRON Bay was buzzing over the weekend, with more than 1200 athletes taking part in the annual Byron Bay Triathlon, including the event's biggest-ever children's field.

Competition in the men's open division was fierce, with Charlie Quin of Broadbeach defeating Suffolk Park local Matt Slee by 23 seconds.

In the women's open, former local Courtney Gilfillan blitzed the field with a convincing six-minute lead over Lucy Bowden.

Over 132 local competitors took part in the event, with local Byron Tri Club members Joel Gerber, Paivi Hanninen, Peter Clarke, Nerida Clarke and Deb Fuller all taking out their respective age groups.

Also competing was former dual-code rugby league and rugby union star, Mat Rogers. Rogers was joined by his crew from 4 ASD kids, which raises money to sponsor children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Despite wet weather on Friday night, Saturday boasted perfect conditions for racing.

"We couldn't have asked for better conditions in Byron over the weekend,” event manager Kevin Pready said.

"Our athletes are raving about their swim in beautiful Main Beach, crystal clear water and counting the fish along the way.”

The event's official charity was the Byron Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, with organisers also raising funds for the local Bangalow Men's Shed, Byron Bay Cycle Club, Byron Bay Basketballers, and Sea Change Byron Bay.

Over the past 24 years, the Triathlon has generated 1005 work experience opportunities to local volunteers and young people, along with over $123,000 in fundraising for local community groups and clubs through their Community Grants Project.



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