The 2016 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships hosted the first ever Cross Triathlon Mixed Team Relay. The event, comprised of four athletes, two females and two males, representing their home country, saw each athlete complete a super sprint triathlon back to back to back to back. Twelve teams from eight nations took part in a unique version of this event, with teams being comprised of both elites and age group athletes (typically it is elite only or age group only). The event went off without a hitch on the final day at Lake Crackenback, in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. Spectators were treated to fast paced, action filled entertainment and the athletes themselves were absolutely abuzz about it afterwards.
“I would love to see this event at every race!” — Jan Pyott from Team Switzerland
Non Stop Action
Fog rolled across the calm waters of Lake Crackenback early Sunday morning as the athletes gathered to take part in their first Mixed Team Relay. Excitement filled the air, along with some nerves, as age group and elite men and women gathered for a race that would be purely about speed. The athletes were already sore and feeling the efforts from their respective races the days before, but that didn’t put a damper on their spirits.
In the Mixed Team Relay, the order is Woman-Man-Woman-Man, but the order of elite and age group athlete was left up to each nation to decide. Each athlete completed a super sprint triathlon and then entered the exchange zone to tag their following teammate who would head out and repeat the process.
When the gun fired at 8:15am, 12 women dove into the chilly blue waters for a 200 meter swim in front of hundreds of spectators. Exiting the water nearly on top of each other, the race was lead by the two Australian teams, the two New Zealand teams, one American team, and the Swiss team as they charged into transition and out onto the 5km mountain bike.
Switzerland’s Renata Bucher flew through the Australian bush and entered T2 in the lead. But her advantage didn’t last long as Aussie Charlotte McShane and American Suzie Snyder charged past Bucher on the 1.3km trail run. As the women completed their run leg, they entered the Exchange Zone and tagged off to the first of their male teammates. This pattern of position swapping repeated itself with the men and women, time and time again.
With the diverse mix of women and men, age groupers and elites, there was never a dull moment. At times it was utter chaos as athletes were entering and exiting the water, entering and exiting transition on both the bike and the run, all at the same time.
The Aussies and Kiwi’s held the top four spots after three legs and in the end, the Australian team of Charlotte McShane, Rowan Beggs-French, Kate Bramley, and Ben Allen claimed gold in a time of 01:44:54.
- Australia – McShane/Beggs-French/Bramley/Allen – 01:44:54
- New Zealand – Orchard/Osborne/Backler/Wilde – 01:46:06
- Australia – Hosken/Andrews/Bernard/Gardner – 01:50:05
- New Zealand – Bunckenburg/Backler/Bunckenburg/Shaw – 01:51:42
- United States of America – Snyder/Rivera/Holt/Middaugh – 01:53:43
For full results, including individual splits for each athlete, click here.
For more photos from the weekends events, click here.
Thoughts from the ITU
The International Triathlon Union is passionate about having Triathlon Mixed Relay added to the Olympic program, as the format appeals tremendously to youth. With numerous lead changes, lots of unpredictable drama and the display of team pride, the discipline develops the sport among new generations and new audiences. Additionally, the mixed relay format represents ITU’s commitment to promoting gender equality in sport, showcasing that men and women can practice the sport together on the same field of play.