It is a common sight to see politicians from opposing parties furiously debate with their counterparts as they campaign and run for seats in the Legislative Assembly.
But this summer, three local political opponents in the ACT Legislative Assembly will join forces to compete in the 2019 Proximity Canberra Triathlon Festival – a ‘Tripartisan’ triathlon of sorts.
Labor MLA Bec Cody, Liberal MLA Mark Parton and ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury will be spending their holidays in training in preparation for the physical challenges ahead of the triathlon at Lake Burley Griffin on 9 February.
A race that combines swimming, cycling, and running in one event, the standard distance in a triathlon is a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike, and 10-kilometre run.
Taking part in the community category event, the triathlon only involves a 200m swim, a 10km bike and a 2km run or walk for the three MLAs. To make it even easier for the trio, they are taking part in the triathlon as a team, with Ms Cody diving into the water, Mr Parton on the bike and Mr Rattenbury on foot.
Liberal MLA Mark Parton said he was very happy to jump on the bike for the 10-kilometre ride.
“I’m extremely confident with my leg of the triathlon,” he said with a laugh. “I’m pretty quick for an old man once I get up a head of steam. Ratters [Shane Rattenbury] is a good runner and we are so thankful to Bec Cody for doing the swim because neither of us wanted to do it.”
Mr Parton said he wanted to use the triathlon to encourage other Canberrans to get out and about this festive season.
“It is really cool that we can put this team together and take part in the triathlon,” Mr Parton said. “I think it’s a way of us demonstrating to Canberrans, particularly those who are in my demographic, that you can get out there and be active.
“You can find the time to do it and I think that is all it comes down to. We are all so busy in our lives looking after our families, looking after our mortgage, looking after our job, but you also have to look after yourself and this is part of it.”
Mr Rattenbury said he was ready for his leg of the triathlon and encouraged local businesses, the Canberra community and other ACT-based politicians to enter the race.
“I can’t wait. It’s going to be a lot of fun, to do something co-operative with the other members of the Assembly. It’s not always like that in the chamber, but on the day we’ll be going as flat as we can to put the ACT Assembly in a good light and put in a good performance,” he said.
“I’ve been doing triathlons for 25 years. I know Bec’s been doing it for the last few years, and I know Mark is a keen rider.”
The Proximity Canberra Triathlon Festival 2019 is being held on 9 February beginning at Rond Terrace in Canberra. For first timers or novice triathletes, the Corporate and Community category offered at the event is made up of a 200m swim, a 10km bike and a 2km run or walk.
First release entries offering discounted fees, a race kit and a Proximity towel are available now and close on Friday (14 December). Anyone can sign up to compete right through until 6 February 2019, but the earlier you sign up the lower the fees and more you receive by way of the race kit.
For more information and to register, click here.