Breca Wanaka

Breca Wanaka Swim Run Swim

– Michael Sutherland

Run – 37.1km

Swim – 7.5km

Time – 8hrs 11 Minutes

Why did I decide to do The Breca Wanaka Swimrun event on the 16th March 2019.

My brother in-law contacted me around this time last year and asked if I would be up for a different challenge away from the structured format of Triathlons. His suggestion, New Zealand’s original swimrun adventure through the rugged wilderness of the Southern Lakes District immediately struck accord to me as it was different and would challenge me in ways I wouldn’t come across in standard triathlon races.

Key reasons I wanted to do this was:

  • It was something new that I had not done before and would offer challenges that would be new to me.
  • It was a team event not individual.
  • Set in an incredibly beautiful backdrop.
  • Was an endurance event with incredibly different conditions.
  • You carry everything you need for the whole race
  • A more relaxed format.

The thing that made it initially daunting leading up to the event was that I did not know what to expect, which in itself challenged me mentally and physically. My endurance training for triathlons set a solid base to work on and was not hard to adapt to. Most of my training was based around the Enoggera dam swimming, and trail running which proved to be ideal for this event. The one thing that concerned me the most was how would be body cope with the dramatic difference in temperature, more the swimming than the running.

I had heard the water temperature could be as low as 8.9oC and as high as 20 oC depending on the wind, this variance is due to deep water currents coming to the surface in some areas.

Leading up to the event we were watching the forecast for the event day which was futile as it changed literally every day right up to 24hours before the event so we resided to the fact it will be what it is on the day. The year before hyperthermia was an issue for the long course which we were doing so a lot of thought went into what would keep us warm but also mindful over not overheating on the run.

The rules were simple:

  • You can use what ever devices you want for swimming ie, paddles, pool buoy and even flippers.
  • What you start the race with you must finish with as well, down to your reusable drinking fold away cup, any wrapper from gels etc.
  • You are not to be more than 10 m at any time from your partner.
  • Be respectful to mother nature.

Our equipment was also simple:

  • Specially designed run swim run wetsuit – In our case we purchased an Orca RS1 Swim-Run wetsuit with removable arms like you use for cycling;
  • Silicon swim cap;
  • Reusable foldable drinking cup (Compulsory)
  • Paddles
  • Pool buoy with adapted elastic so it would sit on the outside of your leg while running.
  • Trail shoes that trained well but had great grip.
  • Goggles
  • Gels, snack bars etc.
  • Swimming bungy cord – this attached us to each other to ensure we didn’t swim away from each other.

So how would I sum up the event. Leading up to it we were both quite nervous not knowing how it would go, had we done the right amount of training, would the conditions be kind? When I arrived I was blown away by the beauty of the landscape and any nerves quickly disappeared replaced by excitement of what we were about to embark on. The water was not to bad as the wetsuit worked really well especially due to the arms and the conditions were perfect no wind and the sun was out, could not have been any better. The longest swim was 1.4km and longest run was 6.5km so all in all very achievable with the mix up from run to swim  etc. I finished feeling pretty good and felt I had done enough training, no real issues apart from a nasty rash on the back of my neck from my wetsuit.

Would I recommend it – Hell Yes!!! Its awesome!!! Tips – do it with a partner of similar ability and in a location that is amazing like Wanaka (Sth Island NZ), Bay of Islands (North Island NZ) or in Sweden where it originated in 2002.

Gerrard and dmitri and world championships 2017 Rotterdam

What Message do we Pedal?

What Message do we Pedal?
Gerrard Gosens

Gerrard and dmitri and world championships 2017 RotterdamI recently wrote about the chain reaction that led to me participating in triathlons, and the opportunity to represent Australia at the Para-triathlon sprint World Championships in Rotterdam on the weekend.  I learnt many lessons from the race – one being that it is important to know, “what message we pedal.”

A message that was pedalled to me ten months ago was that it would be “impossible” to be selected to represent Australia at the 2017 Para-Triathlon World Championships.  I of course didn’t back-pedal from these comments, but just put the foot down and got on with our goal of qualifying for the 2017 World Championships.

I increased my training cadence across swimming, cycling, and running, creating an internal message of, what if?  My teams’ support and commitment to cranking up this output achieved good results in our performances over the next eight months, and selection for the 2017 World Championships.  The earlier “impossible” messages which were being pedalled had gone a complete circle, and were derailed.

Our arrival into Rotterdam was met with very cold, wet and windy conditions.  The first training session on the bike and run course was a good opportunity to experience the many sections of cobble stones and many corners on the bike course.

Our only opportunity for a swim session was in a 25m open air pool, and with the water temperature at 16 degrees, and air temperature 12 degrees, it was a mental and physical challenge. I reminded myself of the many 5:00am swim sessions I had completed during winter, at my local swimming pool (Yeronga), when the air temperature was six degrees.

The swim and bike course familiarisation was held in horrific weather conditions the day before the race.  I had many internal messages being pedalled through my thoughts, as I swam through the angry chop of waves. Our cycle over the bike course in cold drenching rain magnified the many sections of cobblestones, and sharp corners we would have to negotiate throughout the course.

The morning of race day, I was pedalling many thoughts, the unpleasant weather conditions, our race plan and processes, equipment checks and transition set up, race registration, pre-race energy intake, toilet, and race warm up.  The very cold and wet conditions delayed the race start by an hour, which increased the speed of the messages that were being pedalled through my thoughts.

The only thought I had while walking to the jetty for the start of the triathlon was how I would feel for the first five seconds of the race.  I blocked out any thoughts of the rain, wind, and cold water. Our start of the race was an explosion of energy with the single thought of getting to the front.  After the first 5 seconds, I refocused my thoughts onto each swim stroke, my body position in the water, and tension on the swim tether, with my guide, Dmitri.  I had no room for any thoughts on how far we had gone, or where my other competitors were in the water, as these would only be distractions.

I contained my thoughts to tiny pieces of the triathlon, going from the swim to the transition area, to the cycle, to the second transition, and then onto the run.  Each internal message had to be clear on what I had to focus on, at that moment of the triathlon.

We placed ninth overall, and I was the third totally blind athlete competitor, which was a great result at a World Championships after only 20 months in the sport.

The internal messages in triathlons are very different to my past pursuits as a Paralympic distance runner.  While the intensity, energy output and goal of winning are the same, our internal communications are structured and pedalled with a different cadence.

IM New Zealand

March Newsletter

Race Results

IM New ZealandWe had a particularly big weekend of racing with many squad members racing locally and overseas. Full results can be viewed on Facebook but we have a few special mentions from the weekend:

Tweed Coast Enduro

Chris Bailey 1st place 35-39 and 5th overall in 4:21. Chris’ family and work commitments make training extremely challenging but he works very closely with head coach Mark on a very specific program to ensure when he races he is fit. Next up is Malaysian 70.3 in an attempt to qualify for the Age Group World Champs.

Stella Foley 2nd place in 30-34 and only her second long course race in 5:01. After doing our beginner course late last year and having come from a marathon running background Stella clearly has some natural talent and is now working with Mark on getting ready for Ironman Cairns. 

Sue Meehan 2nd place in 50-54. Getting back into the long course game and also getting ready for Cairns , Sue is working with coach Brad to have her fit and firing for her third Ironman. 

Jane Saxby completed her first half IM in 7.22.  The family that plays together stays together as fiance Ian Parnell also raced. Next is their wedding. 

Thanks also to Ian for taking the tent to Tweed for squad members to use. 

Coffs Harbour
Paul DoddNew Tri Nation member, ex pro and World Age group medalist Paul was 7th overall in his first triathlon at Coffs Harbour tri yesterday since Sunshine Coast 70.3 last year. Paul is aiming for 70.3 Worlds later in the year. 

Ironman New Zealand
Christy Collis. First time Ironman finisher in the 45-49 age group. Christy balances 4 kids, working at QUT as a professor and training and did it with aplomb in 13 hours flat. Great effort and smiled the whole way.

Craig Stocks. First time Ironman finisher and in the process has lost around 12kg and did everything right to finish in 11:41. Is now looking towards Cairns Ironman as he enjoyed it so much.

Kate Wardrope. Another first timer, married to Dave and mother of 2 kids that balances everything very well. Came across in 11.56.

Sarah JonesMother of 2, wife to Brad and delivered a personal best time by over an hour to come 8th in 10.48 on the back of a 3.44 marathon. Very impressive. 

Amanda Lucas. A 30 min PB and 3rd in her age group just missing out on a Kona spot. Will only get better and executed the perfect race.

Kristin Muir. Has been struggling with a knee injury leading in but ran tough to record a 30 min plus pb and looked great all day.


March is race month for many athletes in the squad and sessions will work towards fine tuning the body in those final weeks. With such a busy month of racing and the conclusion of two of our major long course events, the Saturday morning sessions will take a break in March returning after Easter. 

In April the Cairns Ironman and 70.3 athletes will be focused on their last 12 weeks of training with Saturday sessions planned out accordingly. We have also now introduced a monthly short course weekend cycle. This ride will be with Ray and the date/location for the first ride will be released shortly.

Changes to the training timetable will be in place starting the week of the 21st March. These changes allow us to offer more in our cycling program as well as allowing the week to balance out better for most members.

Six Week Beginner Triathlon Course

Obeginner tri courseur last beginner’s course for the season will start on Tuesday 29th March. The course runs for six weeks and covers all aspects of the swim, bike and run. There is no minimum fitness or ability level required and all sessions have a technique and skill base.

At the end of the six weeks course participants will take part in the Byron Bay Triathlon weekend which includes Tempta and Sprint distance options. Full details are available online (click here).

Cairns Training Camp

Due to popular request we will be running a training camp in Noosa that will target the Cairns Ironman and 70.3. The camp will run over the Anzac Day long weekend and start late afternoon on Friday 22nd April. As we only have limited accommodation booked please ensure you register as soon as possible to confirm your spot. 

We now have over 10 athletes entered in the Ironman at Cairns and many more planning on travelling up for the 70.3 event so it should be a great weekend. Full details are online (click here).

Thanks Tim!

Tim ColesUnfortunately with our new timetable changes and Tim’s commitments to his new shop and trail running group he is no longer able to continue coaching with us at Tri Nation. 

We are very sad to say goodbye to Tim in a coaching role as he has been a great asset to the team over the last 2 years. With 3 sessions left, coffee post run next Tuesday will be an extra special one as Tim’s last Tuesday run session.

8 IM in 8 Days Around Australia

Our good friend Craig Percival is currently doing 8 IM in 8 days in 8 States to raise money for the John McLean Foundation. This Saturday he will be doing the Brisbane leg of the event starting at 6am from Healthstream. If you’re not at Mooloolaba for the Tri he would love for people to join him. It will be the 7th of his 8 IM events so no doubt he will need all the support he can get. The ride will be 6 x Riverloops and the run will be out and back from Healthstream to the Regatta along the bike path.

Beginner Triathlon Tip

Rest and recover. To get the most out of your training sessions you need to ensure you are recovering adequately. This includes not doing too much training too early, getting enough sleep and having something to eat within the first 30 minutes after a hard session. 

It is common to find people not recovering properly after they train. To see the best results, get your rest right and you’ll not only make improvements but stay in the sport for years to come.

Beginner Course Gear Checklist

Custom Bike Fit

Custom Bike Fit

mike bakerHi, my name is Michael and this is a picture of me doing what I love – riding my bike. I’ve been riding for well over 40 years but it wasn’t until I embarked upon my 2nd Ironman campaign back in 2004 that I first considered getting a professional bike fit. I’m glad that I did because it helped me shave 1hr 10mins off my overall time, from 11hrs 24mins down to 10hrs 14mins. Clearly the bike fit wasn’t responsible for all of these time savings, but it certainly had a positive impact both on my comfort on the bike and my ability to run off. If I wasn’t hooked on triathlon previously I certainly was now.

In 2010 I went through what some would call a mid-life crisis. I quit my comfortable, well paid corporate job and moved from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast where I built a business out of my love for cycling and triathlon – that’s how Custom Bike Fit was formed. Since its inception I’ve performed over 1,000 fits, the majority being with age group triathletes.

A bike fit is a collaborative process and, in my opinion, the best tool available to a fitter is empathy. I’ve been racing triathlons for over 20 years, and still compete in events from Olympic through to the Ironman distance. I know what it’s like to ride with knee pain, back pain, shoulder and neck pain, numb feet and saddle sores. I know what causes these issues and I know how to alleviate them through the fit process.

The most common feedback I get from my clients post fit is that they are more comfortable on the bike, and that they run better off it. Comfort goes a long way to improving a triathletes performance as do aerodynamics and the ability to produce power. I have the experience and tools to measure, optimize and make recommendations around all of these aspects.

As a member of Tri Nation you are now entitled to a 10% discount on my fitting services. I have a fully equipped studio on the Sunshine Coast and will be making quarterly scheduled trips to the Healthstream Fitness Centre. I’d be happy to work with you from either location.

My primary service offerings are:

  • 3D motion capture Custom Bike Fit – $295 (less 10%)

o   Includes fit, analysis of aerodynamics, power/efficiency, equipment optimization/recommendations, electronically measured bike geometry

  • Video Analysis Custom Bike Fit – $195 (less 10%)

o   Includes fit and equipment optimization/recommendations

  • Bike Fit Optimization – $95 (less 10%)

o   This service is limited to athletes I have fitted previously who require a ‘tweak’ – your flexibility has changed, your goals have changed, you have travelled with your bike and/or had it serviced and it no longer feels the same

For further information about Custom Bike Fit please visit my website, send me an email or give me a call.



Studio: 07 5479 3091

Mobile: 0400 510 515


beginner triathlon

October Training Update

Beginner Courses

beginner triathlonOur first beginner course of 2015 recently finished their 6 week program at the Raby Bay QTS event on October 11th.  We had 10 lovely ladies complete the course and really bond together to form some strong friendships and overcome some new challenges.

They have already started coming to some of the squad sessions and we look forward to working with them into the future for more challenges.

Welcome to the squad Stella Foley, Sarah Flanagan, Aymee Hogbin, Cassie Matcham, Ornaith Hanna, Brittany Gardiner, Anna Carrick, Caren Biddulph, Peta Peterson and Rebecca Ward.

Our latest beginner program started this week with another 8 keen and excited participants. This time we have 7 ladies and one lucky guy, Brad who will have the pleasure of working with the girls for the next 6 weeks.

Noosa Triathlon

The biggest event on the Australian triathlon calendar is undoubtedly Noosa.  The location, the events on offer and then the party make it a must do each year for thousands of people.  The Tri Nation team will be there as usual getting amongst it.

As per other years we will have the Saturday morning ride and breakfast/coffee after. The ride is at 6.30am from the Tri Nation tent on Noosa Parade. It will be an easy 45 min spin to turn the legs over and then enjoy the company of good friends with breakfast and coffee afterwards. We will be heading to Café Le Monde for a 7.30am start.

The ride will be an easy ride and all abilities are welcome. There will be 2-3 groups depending on numbers. There will be a group with Suz for those members that are newer to cycling.

On Sunday afternoon from 3pm at the Reef Hotel we’ll be getting together for some post-race drinks. We’ll be giving away some Mizuno shoes and Shoes Feet Gear vouchers via a lucky door prize so it would be great to see everyone there including family and friends.

Engagement and babies

Congratulationss to Michael Zink and Alana Taylor on their recent engagement. Michael and Alana are another couple who met through the squad. We get as much joy out of people meeting and forming life long friendships and becoming partners as we do with people completing their first race.

Also a big congrats to Vina Hess and Jess O’ Sullivan who both gave birth to their first child recently. Vina had a little girl Scarlett while Jess had a little boy Hamish. Hamish is also grandson to Jan Avery-Spoor. Vina and Jess have both been long time supporters of the squad and we wish them all the best.

 2016 Training camp, Noosa

Our first training camp for 2016 will be in Noosa from Saturday January 23rd to Tuesday January 26th. We will be staying at the Sun Lagoon resort on Quamby Place, Noosa. It is located on the Noosa River and only 1km from Hastings Street.

The camp will cater for those people focusing on long course events and also for those targeting events like the Mooloolaba Tri.  All abilities are welcome and encouraged to attend.

These training camps are a great for getting in some quality training in the best training location in Queensland but also for getting to know many of the other squad members. We can guarantee quality training, great food and lots of laughs.

Full details are at

Long Course Program

Our Long Course program from 2015/16 has commenced.  There will be programmed rides and runs on the weekends through the season now to help prepare athletes training for the different long course events on offer.

We had athletes compete at the recent Port Macquarie 70.3 and then in 3 weeks Hervey Bay 100 plus athletes competing at IM Western Australia, Ballarat 70.3, Hell of the West, Geelong 70.3, IM New Zealand, IM Australia and Cairns 70.3 and IM Cairns.

Additionally at sessions during the week such as Tuesday morning run and Wednesday morning WT/treadmill we will have different sets for the long course athletes

New Sponsors

We would like to announce three new sponsors to Tri Nation.  As part of our commitment to trying to provide a team of experts for our members all of these new sponsors are there to benefit our members and improve your race performances.

Gerrard Gosens Sports and Remedial massage.

Gerrard is now operating a massage service out of Healthstream at Gardens Point.  Along with being a duel para Olympian Gerrard is an accomplished athlete, public speaker and successful businessman.

He understands athletes and what they go through.  Tri Nation members will receive a discounted rate of $75 per massage. Bookings can be made by calling Gerrard on 0407 144 211.

Each month we’ll be giving away a free massage to a Tri Nation member as a prize.

In the near future you’ll also be able to book online through the Healthstream website.

Gerrard will be joining the Tri Nation team on the upcoming 500km Road relay and acting as team masseuse.

Custom Bike Fit

Many of our members already know Michael Baker from Custom Bike Fit. Michael provides bike fitting from his studio in Maroochydore.

As part of his commitment to Tri Nation Michael will now be travelling to Brisbane on a regular basis to offer bike fitting with 10% off to our members at Healthstream. The first of those will be on Saturday December 5th.

Michael’s website is

Alderley Chiropractic

Matt from Alderley Chiropractic has also come on board to support Tri Nation members. Some of our members are already seeing Matt and getting great results including the coaching team.

Matt specialises in treating athletes and being an athlete himself he understands the demands on your body.

The first treatment is free and then afterwards is $45 per session for Tri Nation members. Bookings can be made on line by visiting the website at

 Tri Nation Christmas Party

christmas beachSave the date, the time to party is here. Sunday December 13th at the Charming Squire is the date for the Tri Nation Christmas Party.

The $2,000 won as part of the Club Championship will be used to put towards the expenses. Tickets are $15 per person and partners are invited.  We will start collecting the money for the tickets from the end of November.

Canapes and a bar tab are included as part of the price. It will be a great way to finish the year so please join us to celebrate.

August Training Update

Club Champs

For the first year Triathlon Queensland is running a one off Club Champs event at the Moreton Bay sprint distance triathlon. In previous years the Club Champs has been held over 4 events so the change to the single race format makes it much easier to get out, race and support your club.

The race is on the 6th September with the main event a 750/20/5. All Tri Nation members will receive one point for racing (any event) or volunteering plus additional points for the top 15 place getters. That’s right! You will receive a point for volunteering so if you are unable to race you can still come along and get involved.

We’ll be making it a great day out with a BBQ for the whole family plus prizes to be won.

Entries close this Sunday so make sure you complete your entries this week at

Lastly as an added incentive, the medium club champs prize is $2,000. If we do manage to come away with a win we’ll use the money to throw a celebratory party. No one would want to miss that!

24 Hour Triathlon

For those that were around a few years ago you will remember the 24hour Tour de Tri. Well we’ve bought it back again this year in a different format. For 2015 the 24 hour triathlon will be held at Healthstream and will consist of relay teams of 3-8 people swimming for 8 hours, riding on spin bikes for 8 hours then running 1km laps for 8 hours. The event starts on Saturday 3rd October at 1:00pm. Full details are at 

500K Endeavour Relay

500km Endeavour RelayFor the past 2 years Tri Nation has entered a team in the Endeavour 500k Relay and are looking to do so again this year. The running event starts on Friday 13th November and covers just over 500km through the Scenic Rim before finishing in Fernvale on the Sunday afternoon.

While the race is very hot, stinky and sweaty it is one of the most memorable events on the calendar. To enter we need a minimum of 16 runners (max 22). There is no minimum speed requirement to be in the team just that you are willing to give each leg your best effort, cheer your teammates and live on a stinky bus for 3 days.

If you are interested in running contact Jeremy the team manager at

Beginner Course

We have a six week beginner course starting next week on Tuesday 1st September. The course includes 3 training sessions per week based from Healthstream Gardens Point, 2 Indoor Triathlons and a 6 week gym/pool membership. Full details are online at If you have friends or family interested in trying the squad or triathlons then this is the place to start.

Ironman Info Session

swim startIf you are interested in completing an Ironman event in 2016 then come along to our information session on Saturday 19th September at 9:00am at Healthstream Gardens Point.

For 2016 the club will have a focus on New Zealand Ironman but information on the long course program is still relevant for those planning on competing in an IM in the first half of the year. For any first timers this is your chance to come along and get an understanding of the training required before making your decision. RSVP at

Healthstream Offer

From the 1st September Tri Nation Healthstream 12 month memberships will increase from $15.50 to $16.50 per week. You can still receive the discounted rate until the end of the month plus as an added bonus Healthstream will throw in a gym program and 3 PT sessions when you sign up for 12 months.

Ask at reception at Gardens Point to sign up.

Scody Uniform Shop

The Scody uniform shop will open again shortly for a full order of gear including tri suits, running kit, cycling kit and polo shirts. If you are after kit for the new season this will be the time to order with delivery a couple of weeks out from Noosa. We’ll confirm the exact opening date on the Facebook page.



July Training Update

group fitness brisbane

April Training Update

12 Week Challenge

Starting on Monday 11th May we have a 12 week Tri Nation challenge over winter. The challenge is intended to help with motivation over the winter through setting a swim, run or body fat goal. For those working on improving their run the 12 weeks will conclude on the weekend of the Brisbane Marathon.

The challenge will include the addition of a strength session at Healthstream Gardens Point with Personal Trainer Chris Chesner at 5:30pm on Wednesdays.

For full details visit our 12 Week Challenge page. There are no additional costs for Tri Nation training members to participate in the challenge and you can sign up by joining the 12 Week Challenge Facebook Group – We’ll have some great prizes available to win from Mizuno, Healthstream and Shoes Feet Gear.

Tri Nation Online Shop

Tri Nation swim capsWe have just placed our latest order through the Tri Nation Scody store for tri suits, cycling kit and running gear. The dispatch date for the latest order is Thursday 4th June. The Scody shop will reopen in July for tri suit orders leading into Sunshine Coast 70.3 event in September with our next full order in August in time for the Noosa Triathlon.

We also now have other items available that can be ordered any time of the year including swim caps, hoodies and headsweat visors. The hoodies and visors are due for delivery in the next few weeks. We will have limited stock initially available and you are able to pre-order now to ensure you don’t miss out. Check out the shop online.

Goodbye and Good Luck

Sadly for us our much loved Coach Jan is moving back to Melbourne at the end of May. She will be greatly missed especially by our many swimmers who have benefitted from her technical expertise and strong desire to help everyone improve. Thankfully with Jan expecting her first grandchild towards the end of this year (congrats Jess!) we will no doubt still be seeing her face in Brisbane.

Good luck also to Tim Franklin and Kristin Muir who are competing this weekend in the Port Macquarie Ironman. This will be the 2nd time around for Kristin and 6th time for Tim. You can follow them online at with the race start at 6:40am on Sunday.

Ironman New Zealand 2016

Ironman New ZealandWith just over 6 weeks to go until Ironman Cairns and the end of the season there will be many squad members starting to think about whether they would like to enter an Ironman next year and what race this will be. One of the great things about the IM training is the group you train with as some find that they spend more time with these people then their own family!

For the 2015/2016 season we will be specifically targetting Ironman New Zealand as a key IM race for the squad. Race date is the 5th March and the program will commence on the 19th October. All other IM events will still be catered for in training sessions but if you want to work to the same schedule as the main group then this is the event to lock into your diary.