Courtney Hancock demonstrates perfect rhythm during her winning surge for the Coolangatta Gold trophy.
Courtney Hancock demonstrates perfect rhythm during her winning surge for the Coolangatta Gold trophy.

Hancock fit and raring to go

IRONWOMAN Bonnie Hancock will be fit to join sister Courtney when the first round of the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain series is held on December 18.

Bonnie pulled out of the Coolangatta Gold on Sunday during the board leg and was receiving medical attention while Courtney was grinding her way to victory.

Coffs Coast Advocate senior correspondent David Moase was on the beach when the misadventure happened but believes all will be fine in the long run.

"It was a right shoulder injury sustained shortly after the start," he said.

"Her father Richard said a Northcliffe club physiotherapist had told him the injury is unlikely to keep her out of the water too long."

Fellow Coffs Coast resident Daniel Bannerman also saw the incident from even closer range.

He was in the water and suffered a similar fate, forced to pull out near the end after being tossed around in "washing machine" conditions.

"Early in the morning there wasn't a breath of wind and I thought everything was about to go off without a hitch," he said.

"Of course, that was only until I got down around North Kirra where the wind was noticeably stronger and only increased as the day went on."

Bannerman was 2km into the ski leg when the elements went ballistic.

"The wind really picked up and the water got so choppy is was hard to make progress," he said.

"I glanced up and found myself looking straight at (eventual male winner) Caine Eckstein and he was being thrown around all over the place.

"Things became even worse in the swim when I was bashed and bounced around and in the back of my mind it was already evident things were unlikely to get any better."

Going into the event determined to break through a five-hour time span, Bannerman saw one of his key ingredients for success come to fruition.

"The run leg was like a dream," he said.

"I beat the time from 2010 and if there was something good to come out of the experience, I'll have to be satisfied with that.

"But the board leg was hell, with the wind so strong it was almost impossible to paddle through the water.

"By this stage my shoulder was really beginning to stiffen and everything became a matter of survival.

"Every time the arms went up and down, it felt like lifting heavy weights and became just about impossible to keep going."

And so ended the Coffs Harbour swimming instructor's latest quest in the famous event.

Will he try again next year to break through that elusive five-hour barrier?

"Last year I know I said it would never happen again and look what happened," he said.

"To be honest, it's highly unlikely because it's almost impossible to train for conditions like that.

"Andrew Rowlings has done many great things since he took over coaching and has sparked an interest in going into more Coffs Coast triathlons.

"Probably that's what the future holds."

As a fellow local, Bannerman was thrilled by the exploits of Courtney Hancock in the big race.

"Maybe it will take a bit of time for the enormity of what she has done to sink in as it's simply a very big deal," he said.

"To win a national title, then the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain series and finish off with the Coolangatta Gold - and remember she's done all this in less than a year - well, it's absolutely mind-boggling.

"Congratulations to Courtney from all her fellow athletes and we all hope she can keep flying the flag for the Coffs coast."

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