Yamba triathletes pay $10K tribute to fallen friend
TRIATHLON: Most participants had packed up and left Whiting Beach in Yamba yesterday but one group of Brisbane battlers refused to quit.
Spurring them on for their first Yamba Triathlon was the memory of their friend Freyja.
"This was for Freyja. She committed suicide two months ago," group member Angel Cook said.
"She was really into triathlons and she even did an iron man in Port Macquarie earlier this year," Cook said.
"She never did a triathlon here but she always encouraged her friends to do one. I always thought I would never get around to it but here I am.
"We thought we would do it to honour her. Another friend came up with the idea to raise funds for Beyond Blue and we raised over $10,000."
The group stood out on the course with custom T-shirts made up in memory of their friend.
"Our shirts contain symbols with a lot of the things Freyja loved on them," Cook said.
"We added the message on the back to help to further raise awareness because suicide is a big issue among our youth."
Another member, James Douglas, had a hard time getting to the line but was pleased to have finished the event for his friend.
"It was very difficult," Douglas said.
"It feels great to have completed it but I'm not sure I'll do another."
Cook was complimentary of the scenery at the annual event in Yamba.
"It's a great feeling to complete the race. It was a lovely location to do it and everyone was really nice and helpful," she said.
"I got sick of saying thank you so much."
Cook was emotional during the challenge.
"I teared up when I was running because someone said do it for Freyja. We couldn't have imagined it any better," she said.
Cook and other group members were already looking forward to the next one.
"A few of us have got out sights on the Mooloolaba triathlon. During the race I thought 'there's no way I'm doing another one of these' but now it's finished I'm keen to do it again," she said.
For more information on suicide awareness and where to access help, head to beyondblue.org.au.
The 2019 Yamba Triathlon festival was contested by 230 participants across 29 categories.
Clarence Valley's shining light, Lindsey Wall was at his brilliant best finishing as the men's winner with a blistering time of 59 minutes.
Mitch Baker finished in second place and Michael Ylinen rounded out the podium with third.
In the women's race it was Zoe Brittany Madden taking the cake with a time of 1:14.09.
Just 15 seconds behind the leader was Leela Hancox in second and Tessa Hillig following up in third.
Full results to come in Wednesday's edition of The Daily Examiner.