The weather forecast got it all right as all the elements came together in full force to render the already difficult race into a truly mental and physical challenge.
Championship Race Report
In the Male race, a new champion was going to be crowned since none of the previous title-holders were present on the starting list. From the very few metres of the swim, it was Pembroke Atleta & Triathlon's Shaun Galea and Mosta Tri Team's Bernard Sant who took the lead and covered the 1500m sea-swim in exactly 23 minutes. However, during the cycling segment on wet roads and under pelting rain, it was Mosta Tri Team’s Wayne Spiteri who logged the fastest bike section by covering the 40KM course in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 35 seconds. In the final 10KM run, Jesrit Angel Camilleri of Birkirkara St. Joseph established the best time in 38 minutes 9 seconds. Spiteri kept putting pressure on the leader, but ultimately it was Shaun Galea who won the title in a total time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 32 seconds. Spiteri finished in second place just 8 seconds after Galea while Bernard Sant took home the third place.
In the Female race, Pembroke Atleta and Triathlon’s Hannah Pace build a strong buffer behind her in the swimming section, where she was out of the water in second place overall. Her strong racing saw here registering the best female cycling segment where she covered the 40KM stretch in 1 hour 6 minutes and 46 seconds. Behind her, the duo made up of Mellieha A.C.’s Margaret Seguna and Agones SFC’s Danica Bonello Spiteri kept the same pace and exchanged second place on various occasions. However, Seguna was stronger on the run and was second overall as she build up a four minute advantage on Bonello Spiteri who was third on the podium. Pace went undisturbed to conquer her third consecutive National title in a time of just under 2 hours 16 minutes.
In the Age Groups, Darrel Schembri & Anjelika Ruggier were first in the 20-24 categories, Lara Buttigieg and Jesrit Angel Camilleri took the 25-29 section, Michael Bongailas and Juliya Azzopardi Mazur claimed the 30-34 group while the 40-44 category was topped by Karen Amato and Matthew Mirabelli. Josef Bonavia, Kevin Muscat, Joseph Cremona, Victor Calvagna and the Australian Ian King won the Males age categories between 35 and 75 years of age.
Sprint Distance Race Report
In the ancillary Sprint distance race, both male and female races were dominated by youngsters as Under 20s Nikol Micallef of Mosta Tri Team and Debora Desira of the MYTA – Malta Youth Triathlon Academy won the race. Micallef set up a lead of over 2 minutes in the swimming segment which held off team-mate Marlon Mallia notwithstanding the latter recording the fastest bike & run segments to finish off in second place. Micallef won the race in a time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 26 seconds, while Irish Paul Callalan took third place.
In the female race, Desira conquered fastest time splits in both swimming, cycling and running segments and she won in a time of 1 hour 28 seconds and 36 minutes. Behind her, Agones SFC’s Elaine Fenech was second while British Pam Batchelor was third overall.
In the Relay Sprint Race, it was the 24/7 Fitness Club's team who won the competition, with Luke Camilleri Cuschieri doing the swimming, Mark Lewis as a cyclist and Ryan Theuma finishing the 5KM run.
Comments by the MTF President
In his comments soon after the awards presentation, Triathlon Malta’s President Cyprian Dalli stated that ‘today we had to put up our best performance to out-stand the adverse weather conditions and deliver a race which was safe, fun and exciting. I am very glad that we succeeded. This was all thanks to our team of dedicated volunteers who ensure a smooth-running event, our team of race-preparation team and everyone who was involved in these championships. This would not have been possible without the priceless support of our main sponsors, Garmin Malta and Medcomms Ltd – authorised distributors of Garmin with whom we worked hand in hand all through this year to deliver this race today. As a president of this Federation, I really stood in awe of our athletes who today braved the elements and manage to finish the race safely and with exceptional performances’.
The Malta Triathlon Federation expressed its gratitude to Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, the Malta Police Force especially the Traffic Section, Transport Malta, the Naxxar Local Council, the Malta Red Cross, the Farsons Group, Saracino’s Caterers and the Malta Bike Marshals who made the event possible.