The biggest challenge of the 2017 COLORBOND® Airlie Beach Triathlon is finding a reason not to participate!
Now in its 19th year, the event – which this year takes place on Sunday September 3 - continues to evolve and has become an ‘event weekend’ in the Whitsundays, not just an event.
There is a racing experience for all the family. Add to that the diverse range of accommodation on offer, the quality food options and an assortment of pre and post-race fun and it is the ultimate ‘racecation’.
This year, for the first time, there will be a Community Carnival kicking off proceedings, complete with free jumping castle, face painting, live music and fireworks.
There will also be an array of food trucks and stalls to satisfy everyone from the health conscious to those with a sweet tooth and, on Saturday (September 2), there is a free movie screening at the outdoor Seaside Cinema on the foreshore.
Saturday morning sees the staging of the Ocean Swim in the azure waters of the Coral Sea after the obligatory “loosener” at Airlie Beach Parkrun.
The Ocean Swim includes a Junior Swim, a short course 750m event including an ‘Anything Goes’ division for those who need aids or just want to have a little fun and, for the more serious, a 2km swim.
Everything is within walking distance in Airlie Beach so, following the swim, you might want to check out the abundance of food offerings and maybe the Saturday morning markets on the foreshore.
The race precinct is then overrun with the stars of the future for the Ergon Energy Kidzpower
Triathlon where it’s mate against mate, school against school, in the participation-focused event.
There are bonus points for volunteers - which sees a lot of kids out on course for the adults the next day - as well as credits for staff participation, which encourages everyone at the school to get involved.
There is also $1,000 worth of sporting equipment on the line in the McDonald’s Schools Championship, with the scoring system rewarding participation on a per capita basis, so even the small schools have a shot.
Sunday is race day and the Sprint Triathlon is the headline act. The list of past winners is a ‘who’s who’ of Aussie triathlon with Sam Betten, Courtney Atkinson, Nicole Hackett, Miles Stewart and Rebekah Keat all having graced the winner’s podium.
The early September date signals the start of the North Queensland season, with events in neighbouring Mackay, Townsville and Hamilton Island all completed by November to beat the heat and humidity; whilst for southern athletes, this is often the launching pad for training into the summer season.
The Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run) has categories for male, female and mixed teams, while the Enticer Triathlon (350m swim, 10km cycle and 2.5km run) is a great bridge between the popular junior events and the addictive world of triathlon.
The swim is perhaps one of the most picturesque swims in the country, set in a sheltered bay just off Airlie Beach. A small field reduces the stress for weaker swimmers and there’s plenty of space and reward for the stronger swimmers, with a headland that affords spectators an ideal viewing platform.
Then it’s onto the bike and the course is testing, with the best views found at the top of the climbs!
Meanwhile, the run course has been kept flat for your big finish, with the course winding its way along the Bicentennial Boardwalk to Abell Point Marina and back again. With the water lapping beneath the timber boardwalk, it is a run course that will carry you home.
All in all, the Airlie Beach Triathlon is a fun-filled, competitive event for all the family and with cheap flights into the region from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and free hotel transfers for competitors, there’s every reason to end your winter hiatus with some ‘fun in the sun’ in the Whitsundays!
For more information including timings and registration details visit http://www.whitsundaytriclub.com/airlie-beach-triathlon
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