FATHERHOOD and a bout of COVID respectively won't stop Jesse Featonby and Julia Hargreave from trying to repeat their dominance of last year in the Riverina Tri Series.
The Albury duo won all four races in the male and female divisions last year, the first time the feat has been achieved, and will begin their title defence at the Ganmain Triathlon on Sunday.
About $2000 in prizemoney is up for grabs across the four-race series, with events also at The Rock, Holbrook and West Wyalong.
Featonby, 34, dominated in his return to triathlon last year after opting to focus on cycling. The birth of his first child, nine-month-old daughter Elsie, has ensured some sleep-deprived nights, but he's confident he's put in the work to be a pacesetter again.
"To get that competitive feeling was really exciting. The competition was strong and I know doing some local series this year that there's some fast competitors coming through," he said.
"It was great to be able have these events on and support the local communities, because a lot of the events support a footy club or something.
"The prizemoney is amazing, it shows the local sponsors and the towns that put this together really want to get good athletes coming, and I think they did that last year.
"I'm a dad now so life has definitely changed. I wasn't sure how fit I'd be able to stay. A few nights when you're not getting much sleep I didn't get much training done, but I feel like I'm ready."
Hargreave 29, finished fourth in the female 25-29 years division over the Olympic distance at the St Kilda Marathon recently.
She was sidelined by COVID for a couple of weeks before blowing out the cobwebs over the sprint distance at Sandringham last weekend.
"I just did the sprint distance at Sandringham as I'm still recovering after COVID. I didn't push much in that race, it was just to get some match fitness back," she said.
"I'm back for the series because it's run by the local communities and there's great prizemoney on offer. It's a good atmosphere racing with elites like Jesse, and people who are doing it for the first time."
Hargreave has been training for a half ironman in Melbourne on March 20, which means she is likely to miss the final leg of the series at West Wyalong the day before.
Canberra-based New Zealand athlete Angharad Llewellyn, who has previously raced on the professional circuit, will also line up at Ganmain, as will mountain bike world championships competitor Tyla Windham in the men's.
Junior and enticer divisions will be held before the open race on Sunday, which begins at 9.30am.
The main race will be held over a 1km run-20km cycle-150m swim-2km run format. Information on how to register and course map can be found at ganmaintriathlon.com.au.
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