For Old Boy Jonathan Hamwood (1965), it seems that ‘striving to the best he can be’ has always been his motivation and meticulous planning his key to success. As a boarder in Gerald House he represented Churchie in Rugby (1st XV – 1965), Swimming, Drama and Track & Field.
He subsequently forged a successful career in the Royal Australian Air Force and retired in 2008 as a Group Captain. Career highlights included being appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in 1990, attending the USAF Air War College and serving as Defence Attache in the Australian Embassy in Germany. Since school, Jonathan has enjoyed success in the sporting arena, particularly in recent months.
After 33 years of triathlon racing around the world, the last decade for Jonathan involved mainly ironman and half ironman races, culminating with the world championship 70.3 race held locally here in Australia. With a left knee problem that finally forced him to stop running, he turned his focus to Aquabike (i.e. swim and bike) and competitively speaking, decided that this type of racing was to be his future. So last year, in order to gain some experience and check out the level of competition, he competed in the inaugural Aquabike world championships in Canada. He discovered that it attracted some really fast swim/bikers in the mature age groups who, like him, could no longer run but have very good engines. He knew then that his best shot at a world title was going to be in July 2018 at the world International Triathlon Union age group championships in Denmark, when he moved up to the 70-74 age group.
Having built his own race bikes for years, Jonathan spared no expense in preparing what was going to be the ideal bike – lightweight, aerodynamic and comfortable. In the weeks prior to the event, when the organisers released the names of competitors, Jonathan researched his rivals and identified Great Britain’s Michael Smallwood as the man to beat.
On race day his preparation went as planned and he was as relaxed and well-prepared as he was ever going to be. Despite having his goggles bumped from his head at the start of the swim Jonathan completed the 3km swim leg in 54min 54 sec. Out on the bike leg he saw Smallwood race past him like a rocket at about the 5km mark and knew he had to give it his all to reel him back in. His moment finally came in the last 25 kilometres when Smallwood opted for a banana at an aid station. Knowing that they are difficult to peel and consume whilst racing, coupled with his own ‘go hard or go home’ attitude, Jonathan seized on the opportunity and delivered an outstanding 3hr 30min 50sec bike leg over the 121km road course to win by two minutes from Smallwood. In doing so he secured himself an age group world championship and describes it as his best and most challenging race ever. “I think I will retire from competition now – how could I top that?”