Final preparations are underway for the 30th anniversary of Mooloolaba Triathlon, with two days of racing set to take place this weekend.
The sell-out event will welcome triathletes from across Australia, with the popular weekend of racing providing plenty of opportunities for people to get involved in the sport.
More than 5,500 athletes will take part in the Mooloolaba Triathlon, with first time triathletes, veterans of the sport and rising stars mixing together on course.
The Mooloolaba Triathlon has been a premier destination for multisport and triathlon communities since 1993, hosting some of sport’s greatest names, age groupers, newbies and support teams of family and friends. This year also hosting the Oceania Triathlon Standard Distance Cup and the Australian Age Group Standard Distance Championships.
Highlighting its popularity is a band of returning Mooloolaba Triathlon ‘Legends’ – those who have completed the event for 10 years or more – of which there are over 200 members.
Brisbane’s Brent Blackman is the self-proclaimed ‘King of Moo Tri’ – and rightly so. The 50-year-old has the most Mooloolaba Triathlon’s under his belt, completing 28 out of the 29 events to date, only missing the first ever staging.
“I love it,” said Brent. “It's one of those things as I get older, I don't ever want to think I'll get too old to do it. I've even got a t-shirt, because my mates know how much I love Mooloolaba, which has got 'The King of Moo Tri' on the back. My nickname is 'The Duck' because of the way I run, and I have 28 little ducks on the back of the t-shirt for every race I have competed in.
“I love going up to Mooloolaba because it's that one time I know I can go there and know that I've done more than anybody else, it's a beautiful place to be and I love it. I'll never stop going there because it's just so much fun.”
Brent says one of the things he loves most about the event is the opportunity to spend quality time with his mates each year. More recently, a particularly special aspect of the event for the group of friends is seeing their children step up and take part in the Mooloolaba Triathlon alongside them.
“The one thing I do enjoy is the fact that we've got the next generation of my mates’ kids starting to come through,” said Brent. “My kids aren't really interested as much, but we've got some of the other guys whose sons are coming through and now they’re starting to do the age groups as well. They've been there ever since they were doing the kids races, so to now see them coming to do the adult races, that's the fun part, and it shows the success of the sport and the event as well.”
If Brent holds the ‘King of Moo Tri’ crown, perhaps then the ‘Queen of Moo Tri’ is Nicola Debuse, who will line up for her 18th Mooloolaba Triathlon on Sunday 13 March – the most of any female competitors.
Nicola first completed the event back in 2003, around the same time she took up the sport of triathlon. Though initially a novice and worried about the seemingly elite feel of triathlon, Nicola has grown into the sport with confidence, and now feels the warmth and inclusiveness of the event.
“My early racing years were fraught with self-doubt and Mooloolaba seemed to have the fittest of athletes, and not many who looked like me. I was absolutely convinced that I might not make the time cuts and would be DNF so they could start the elite race, but it never happened,” said Nicola.
“Over the years more and more have taken up the sport and I really like the inclusive vibe and every competitor, quick or not, is cheered and the last ones probably get cheered the loudest.”
Though the course has changed slightly over the years, Nicola says her love for the event is enduring thanks to the stunning Sunshine Coast setting.
“I love the new swim start and finish at the more protected southern end of the beach,” said Nicola. “The bike course is always fast on the motorway and the wind will be from behind either going out or coming back.
“The run is challenging, but where else can you run along the beautiful waterfront and be cheered on the whole way round. The breakfasting support crews in the café’s cheer, spectators on the hill and turnaround offer encouragement, volunteers give out drinks and affirmations for success, but the best of all feelings is reaching the club tent zone, nearly spent and close to the finish, where pride and raucous encouragement from the SBTC makes me find a morsel of energy to keep running to cross the finish line.”
For more information on the Mooloolaba Triathlon visit: https://mooloolabatri.com.au/
With Mooloolaba Triathlon hosting the Australian Age Group Standard Distance Championships this Sunday, this is an opportunity for Triathlon Australia members to vie for double selection points toward the Australian Age Group Team heading to the 2022 World Triathlon Age Group Triathlon World Championships – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in November later this year. 2022 Australian Age Group triathlon Team expressions of interest close promptly at 5pm AEST on Monday the 4th of April 2022.
For more information on the 2022 Australian Age Group Team visit: www.triathlon.org.au
Words by IRONMAN Oceania
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