WHEN it comes to sport, Berry triathlete Tarni Cunningham does not take the easy road.
Whereas most athletes only have to focus on one sport, the Bomaderry High School student has found her passion in swimming, cycling and running.
“I just love the endurance,” she beamed.
“You have to put in a sustained effort through all legs. You have got to be an all-rounder,” she said.
Her dedication has surely paid off, with Cunningham recently achieving gold at the NSW All Schools Triathlon Championships.
The 17-year-old competed at the championships in Penrith on Thursday, February 21 in the open schoolgirls division.
Fifty girls from independent, catholic and government schools all over NSW entered the event, which included a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike ride and five kilometre run.
This is Cunningham’s preferred triathlon length and she did not disappoint.
“I came out of the water fourth but by the end of the bike leg I was in first place. I have a strong bike leg at the moment,” said Cunningham.
“On the run, I led the whole way, but there was a girl who was coming up really fast behind me, so I has to dig deep to hold onto first position, which I did in the end.” Cunningham finished the race in one hour, seven minutes and four seconds, just over 30 seconds in front of her closest competitor.
“It was a pretty good feeling to take home the gold because I have been pipped at the post a couple of times,” she said.
“As it is my final year, I really wanted to take it out because I know that I wouldn’t get another chance.”
This is the fifth time Cunningham has competed at the state all schools championships.
Because of her state success, Cunningham will head to nationals in Penrith in April.
She hopes to finish with a bang and improve on last year’s third national placing.
“I honestly have no idea how I will go. The competitors keep changing so I don’t know who I am up against. But I know there are some really good national girls so there will be some stiff competition,” she said.
The morning after her race, Cuningham boarded a plane to Tasmania, to compete in the Devonport OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Championships.
This time racing in the under 20s division, Cunningham finished ninth overall, but was the seventh Australian over the line.
“I was happy with that result considering I raced two days beforehand,” she said.
This capped off a big week for Cunningham, who competed in the Pearl Izumi Huskisson Long Course Triathlon Festival on Sunday, February 17.
Cunningham competed in the sprint distance event and finished first in the under 20s category and third overall.
Cunningham thanked Ultimate Cycles Nowra and Elite Energy for their support.