Zac crowned State age endurance champion

Zac Cunningham completes the run leg of the Hell of the West triathlon in Goondiwindi. Photo by Susie Cunningham.

Six years after competing in his first triathlon, Zac Cunningham has been crowned 35-39 Age Male Group Champion in the Triathlon Queensland 2022-23 State Series. 

 Fitness and sport have always played a big part in Zac’s life. 

As a schoolboy he was always moving – ‘cross country, swimming, football, everything’ he laughs. 

In 2023 the McAuley College teacher is now moving faster and further than ever. 

These days his passion is competing in multi-sport endurance events like the aquathon (swimming/running), duathlon (running/cycling) and the triathlon (swimming/cycling/running). 

He competed in a total of six events of different lengths during the competition season and his consistency throughout the series saw him accumulate enough points to take out the title, his most outstanding result to date. 

Zac’s first competition triathlon in 2018 comprised a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike ride and five kilometre run. 

“I was ecstatic that I actually finished,” he recalls. 

The longest event he has contested is the aptly named Hell of the West Triathlon in Goondiwindi. Described as Queensland’s toughest triathlon, it consists of a two kilometre swim in the Macintyre River, 80 kilometre ‘dead flat’ cycle along the Barwon Highway heading west, and 20 kilometre ‘hot as hell’ run along the Macintyre. 

“I knew that I wasn’t going to be the fastest across the season, but I was going to give every race a ‘tri’,” he says. 

“I was worried I might be walking at the finish, but I was still running around,” he says. 

Zac Cunningham with his trophy. Photo: Susie Cunningham.

He credits his triathlon success to good training, patience and consistency. 

While Zac enjoys the intensity and challenges of endurance competition, he is equally happy to be cycling with his friends from Beauy Bugs (Bicycle User Group). 

“I really love the social aspects of riding or running with locals,” he says. 

It was the initial encouragement of Zac’s wife Susie to take part in a small triathlon relay through her work that started him on his endurance sport journey. 

“I had been riding with Bugs for around six months, but the relay team required a swimmer and I volunteered. It all evolved from there,” he says. 

A proud Susie says: “He is consistent, has a great attitude towards getting out there with his mates to train in our beautiful neck of the woods and just loves the sport.” 

As great as Zac’s triathlon success has been, it has recently been trumped by a singular family event – the arrival of baby Rosie Hope Cunningham. 

“I’ve now made the transition to fatherhood, something you can’t beat. It’s the greatest,” he says.

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