When you add the inaugural running of Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns and the extra sparkle of World Ironman champion Chris McCormack into the mix, you have the makings of a very special event.
38-year-old McCormack has tested the bike course and believes it will be tough.
“It will certainly test out the legs coming back from Port Douglas with the wind being a factor. I’m feeling fit and ready to race. The opportunity to race on Australian shores again is super exciting. My career has taken me all over the globe, but nothing is the same as the ability to race in front of family and friends in a race at home,” said McCormack.The Challengers
Stepping up to the start line to make their claim on the title and challenge the ‘man’ that sits atop the Ironman world will be some credible contenders.
The late withdrawal of New Zealand’s Cameron Brown due to a calf injury has opened the field up and Australia’s Tim Berkel has made no secret he is in good form and aiming for top spot on the podium.
“My race prep has been going well and coming off a win at Busselton 70.3 so the form is good at the minute. I'm hoping for a win but it’s going to be very hard there are some very experienced guys racing, I will just give it my best and see how it rolls.”
Jamie Whyte will step up as the favourite Kiwi to grab a medal and has been based in Cairns for the past four weeks to prepare.
“It’s been great training in the heat and getting used to the elements that we will have to race in this Sunday. This will make for a stunning bike course. I am expecting the wind to play a major factor, potentially across all three disciplines."
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The women’s event is shaping up to be a great battle, with Australia’s first ladies of Iron distance racing Belinda Granger and Rebekah Keat headlining the field.The veteran of the field, Granger has announced she is ready to rumble and keen to get out there after a flawless preparation leading up to Cairns.
“I am definitely aiming for the podium. I want to put together a solid race across all three disciplines. Being a first-time race, having all of my family there and being 'just up the road' from where I live I want to have a great race.
“I have been following the Challenge Series for over 8 years now- I love their races and am so excited to be a part of the inaugural 'Challenge Cairns'” added Granger.
Keat is super excited about competing in Cairns partly because her mum and twin sister will be doing their first ever triathlon as part of a team in Challenge Half.
“I’ve been nagging Simone for 15 years and finally she has made the leap. My mum is also in the team so I’m really pumped about that. I’m pretty happy with how training has gone considering I got knocked off my bike a while back, I’ll be out there giving it my all.” said Keat.
The pair will be up against fellow countrywomen and very much in-form athletes Amelia Pearson and Kirsten Molloy, who recently finished second and third at Ironman Australia. Their confidence will be high and will be an added weapon.
The pros will be ably supported by the very fit and fired up age group categories that including 57 year old female competitor Kerry Bourne (Toowoomba) and the oldest male competitor Phil Benoit (Woolgoolga).A Community Event - with BIG Prize Money
Challenge Cairns has breathtaking scenery at every turn, offer athletes a 3.8km swim in the warm waters off Yorkeys Knob, the 180km bike leg that travels up the most scenic coastal roads in Australia towards Port Douglas and a 42.2km run that includes the Cairns boardwalk, before finishing in the heart of the City of Cairns.
As if the beautiful weather and stunning scenery aren’t enough of an attraction, Challenge Cairns has the added lure of the highest prize money of any 'Challenge' branded triathlon in the world ($142,000) making it second richest triathlon in the world.
Challenge Family events focus on delivering the race of a lifetime to athletes of all ages and abilities, and creating a memorable spectator experience that captures all the excitement and emotion of our inspirational sport.
The Challenge Family is changing the face of iron distance racing around the world with its global series of long distance triathlons and on 5 June, 2011 the Challenge brand finally arrives in Australia.
Visit the official website for more event information.BANZAI WISHES ALL ATHLETES THE BEST OF LUCK ON SUNDAY - ENJOY THE RACE!