This Year’s Garmin Malta Long Distance Triathlon Championships saw the largest pool of athletes being fielded in Malta’s only long distance triathlon. The triathlon which consisted of a 1.9km swim, a 90km cycle and a 21k m run took place in Birzebbugia in what have been the worst conditions for a
long time, especially for this time of year. Nevertheless the race proved to be a hard fought battle
from start to finish with a good show from some veteran athletes and determined racing from the
newer breed of triathletes. The race also saw a strong international participation with fourteen
triathletes hailing from Brighton, United Kingdom.
With previous year’s male title holder, Rudolph Agius and potential contender Fabio Spiteri out of
the fray, the hopes for the winning spot was an open challenge. First out of the very rough sea was
veteran Joseph Cremona (Birkirkara St. Joseph), who after a long break from the sport returned to
endurance racing this year, covering the 1.9k swim in just 31 minuntes 27 sec, second out of the
water was veteran endurance athlete Nicky Farrugia followed by the experienced David Galea
(Agones SFC), who has been in a fine form throughout. Although similar to previous years, this
year’s bike route saw some changes, which were designed to give athletes a safe yet more technical
route. The previous night’s rain caused some havoc on the route with quite a few bike crashes being
experienced by several athletes. David Galea showed fine form in the cycle segment, clocking in a
time of 2 hours 40 minutes beating Joe Cremona by less than one minute to head towards the 21km
run. Jude Zammit (Agones SFC) clocked in to transition in third place having completed the bike
segment in just less than 3 hours. These placings were mirrored in the final run segment where
David Galea crossed the finish line in 4 hours 33 minutes, 51 seconds, Joseph Cremona in 4 hours 51
minutes, 33 seconds and Jude Zammit in 4 hours 59 minutes and 45 seconds.
In the female category, title holder and current National Triathlon Champion Birkirkara St. Joseph
triathlete Michelle Vella Wood had little competition in the field yet she still had a very strong
showing completing the race in 5 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds. Second and third female to
cross the finish line were international athletes Elle Breeds and Amy Jordan both finishing in a time
of 6 hours 10 minutes 20 seconds and 6 hours 27 minutes and 7 seconds respectively.
In the Master Category, trophies were awarded to Gaetano Catania (Agones SFC), Nicky Farrugia and
Peter Zammit in first, second and third place respectively. The female trophy went to Issi Doyle.
The Relay Category saw a fine showing of a mix of top, upcoming and new athletes hailing from
Swimming, Running and Cycling disciplines teaming up to give some exciting performances. A total
of seventeen teams were fielded. Coming in first place was Team G made up of Triathlete Graham
Borg, upcoming Cyclist Wayne Spiteri and veteran marathon runner Jonathan Balzan. Second in were
U23 Triathlon Champion Hannah Pace, seasoned cyclist Jeffrey Borg and runner Clifton Caruana who
clinched his first podium. Third in were Zach Cutajar, Mark Bonnici and Hadrian Bonello, all of which
are successful athletes in their own right.
“With each year that passes we learn and gain experience, which is then translated into a better
racing experience the following year. This year’s race saw a number of changes and milestones – we
worked even more closely with the Malta Triathlon Federation, to design a route that was more
spectator friendly as well as to upgrade the race to championship status. We also received increased
support from the Authorities which enabled us to offer a safer racing environment, increased
sponsorship gave us the opportunity to offer more attractive prizes to the winners and a varied
goody bag to all athletes” said Race Director and Endurance Athlete Charlie Demanuele. “We are
indebted to these people and thank them for their support” .
“The Malta Triathlon Federation welcomes such initiatives. Endurance racing has become
increasingly popular and this race is an opportunity for the triathlon community to race on home soil
prior to undertaking any races abroad” said Cyprian Dalli, President of the Malta Triathlon
Federation. “Working closely with the race organisers we are pleased to see that the criteria set out
by the Federation for sanctioned races was well met and this race was a great success in terms of
experience participation and results”
The Garmin Malta Long Distance Triathlon Championships, held under the auspices of the Malta
Triathlon Federation, was supported by Garmin Malta, Medcomms Ltd, The Cyclist, Urban Jungle,
Mochika, San Michel, Twistees, Birzebbugia Local Council, Transport Malta and Agones SFC.
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