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Competition is in their Blood

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Hunter Valley triplets Ben, Sam and Jake Russell have made memories that will last a lifetime, crossing the finish line at the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Finals together.

By day, Ben is a Mechanical Maintainer at Yancoal Australia’s Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) mine. He’s had a long career with Yancoal having worked with the company for 15 years since finishing his apprenticeship onsite.

Ben trains and competes for ironman events and triathlons in his downtime from work and in the last twelve months has travelled overseas to the United States and Abu Dhabi to compete.

“My two brothers and I have been competing in triathlons for the past five years, but we did compete in triathlons when we were juniors in school before we all played rugby league for about 15 years.

“We are pretty competitive against one another!

“We started out at a few club races and were gutted after them and thought how is this long competitive distance going to go, but we continued striving towards it, preparing and being very committed and dedicated and we got there.

“I’m really happy with our performances in races and we’ve obviously had some bad races but that’s all part of the sport,” said Ben.

Ben competed in his very first overseas triathlon last year in Utah in the United States. He said that was a great test for his biggest triathlon with his brother in Abu Dhabi in November at the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Finals.

The triathlon in Abu Dhabi consisted of a 1500m swim, 40km cycle and a 10km run.

Ben said his training for the finals in the hot conditions in Abu Dhabi was intense – when he wasn’t on a shift at Mount Thorley he was doing some sort of low or high-intensity run, bike or swim session to get ready.

“Abu Dhabi was a wonderful experience and an amazing race and the atmosphere on the course was phenomenal.

“It was extremely hot though, and the conditions were sweltering!

“At the moment we compete in the 30 to 34 age group category. Sam placed 6th in the age group [at Abu Dhabi], myself 7th, and Jake 9th,” said Ben.

Many fellow sportsmen and women would say that the sport can be quite addictive once you compete in your first race and Ben certainly agrees.

“Triathlon racing can be quite addictive, and I love to keep challenging myself to do better each time. It is not a cheap sport to get into with all the gear, travel, and equipment. The financial assistance from MTW has helped cover flights and accommodation and I am thankful,” said Ben.

MTW General Manager, David Bennett, was pleased to help Ben on his ironman journey.

“Ben is a well-respected and hardworking member of the MTW team. We all know sport has many benefits, including better physical and mental health; boosting your self-confidence; reducing stress; and strengthening your body. Supporting Ben was important to us.

“We are happy our financial assistance can help Ben travel and compete, and we look forward to hearing about his competition experience,” said David.

Ben said there are plenty of races to look forward to this year.

“We have got a few races coming up over the next few months in Queensland and New South Wales and I am going over to compete in Hawaii 70.3 Half Ironman in June,

“There are a few at the Sunshine Coast late in the year.

“I really do enjoy the sport and I’m always striving to be better as well as juggling around work.”

And of course, be as competitive as he can against his two brothers.

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