The Gold Coast has received a solid drenching of rain over the past week, but it’s not enough to keep the likes of Commonwealth Games Mixed Relay gold medallist, Matt Hauser at bay. He’s been sidelined since his Super League Triathlon fall in Singapore late February.
The injury to his wrist meant saw him miss the WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi and ITU Mooloolaba World Cup races.
A frustrating start to the season for Hauser having missed the second half of 2018 recovering from shoulder surgery after a training accident, and chance to race the Gold Coast ITU World Championship in September and capitalize on his 2017 Junior World Championship win.
Hauser said, “I dealt with two tears in my left scaphoid and four weeks in a splint and within the last week I've been given the all clear to race and start back riding on the road and swimming normally, so this weekend will be a timely tester to see how I am after a month of inconsistency.
Missing Abu Dhabi, Mooloolaba and New Plymouth was a tough pill to swallow as i had already had so long off racing after last year's shoulder reconstruction but it was inspiring and encouraging to see our Aussie men, especially Brandon Copeland and Luke Willian do so well.
This Sunday will be exactly a year since our Aussie Commonwealth Games MTR gold medal performance so it will be very special to compete on a similar course on the Gold Coast this weekend.
Luke Harrop Memorial Triathlon is always a special event and being a local Queensland it does add a bit more of importance to the event, my coach Dan Atkins often speaks about the weekend of racing with the respect and reflection on a great mate's life so it is extra special for us as his athletes.”
The 2019 Gold Coast Triathlon Luke Harrop Memorial doubles as the National Sprint Championship and Oceania Continental Cup. It is also a qualifying event for the Age Group ITU World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland in August. It is also the Australian National Championship for Paratriathlon and triathletes with a disability (TWD).
It’s the Luke Harrop Memorial – the race everyone wants to take part in and marks 17 years since Luke’s tragic death. The Harrop family have established a foundation in his name, so his legacy continues in the aid of supporting athletes and Para triathletes with their disabilities and injuries.
Luke’s life was taken from him during an early ride training incident, and at only 23 years of age, he was also at the peak of his fitness and status amongst elite triathletes.
The Gold Coast Triathlon is the largest on the sprint calendar and is important in terms of post-Commonwealth Games legacy.
In the elite race, Australia is represented with 31 entries in the men and 30 in the women with a variety of internationals thrown in the mix.
The elite races kick off as the sun rises, at 6:15am, competitors diving into the beautiful Broadwater from Mitchell Park in Southport for their 750m swim, then back to the park for the 20km, three lap bike course utilising the Gold Coast Highway and Marine Parade, a relatively flat and scenic route with a technical turn for each lap. Following that is the 5km, two lap run. It will be fast and furious and a packed race with both Elite Men’s and Women’s starts only a minute between them.
The Gold Coast Triathlon is equally a spectator and athletes’ event. With plenty of superstar talent entered, the likes of 2018 New Plymouth World Cup Winner Declan Wilson, who has been at an altitude training camp in the Snowy Mountains recently
Dan Coleman (QLD) hasn’t raced since July last year and is expectedly excited about competing at home. It’s been a long time on the sidelines for Coleman, having picked up a stress fracture in his femur in August 2018. Hopefully his strength work and recovery will pay dividends for the 23-year-old Gold Coaster.
Hauser’s training partner, Kye Wylde came fourth at Devonport and is also a Gold Coast local and will no doubt be doing this race for his dad, who was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. Kye started “Anti-Cancer Projects” to raise funds and awareness of colon cancer.
Joanne Miller (QLD) has amassed 12 podiums from her 28 starts for seven wins. Miller will be looking to add to her tally, having won the 2019 Devonport OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Championship after a hiatus from triathlon in 2018.
Miller reflects, “Devonport is an absolutely beautiful place and luckily the weather played nice and produced some great racing weather.
“Mooloolaba was definitely a tough hour of racing. I think it’s fair to say that I will definitely need to do some more hill reps if I do that race next year.
“To be honest, I thought this year was going to pan out differently to how it already has. Not in a million years did I think that I was going to place first in Devonport - I thought I would struggle to get a top 10. I was then quite lucky to be given a spot at the Mooloolaba WC and what an experience that was. To just line up next to some of our Olympic hopefuls was amazing in itself, but then to race in front of a home crowd was just bonkers and a day I won’t forget!
“Moreton Bay has been my goal since December 2018 and Matt (my coach) and I have really tried to prep my body well for the standard distance. I’m a long way off mastering those longer distances but I have worked closely with my dietician, S&C coach and sport scientists to try and improve myself in every facet of my racing. Gaining selection for the U23 World Championships (and being on the top step of the podium at World’s) is my ultimate goal for this year. In saying that, I’m up against a very talented group of U23 Australian women, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
And when asked about the Luke Harrop Memorial race and its significance, Miller continues, “I think it’s amazing that there is a race that celebrates the life of such a passionate young man and I’m even more honoured to be a part of it. It’s also really great that it’s held on the Gold Coast because I love racing at home mainly because I’m able to have my family there to support me. They’ve done a lot for me, so all I want to do is make them proud every day.”
Caloundra’s Kelly-Ann Perkins should feature at the front of the 750m swim, she led the swim out in Mooloolaba (finished eighth) and New Plymouth (finished 11th). Perkins continues to improve with each race and is one of developing athletes.
Expect swim specialist Danielle De Francesco (QLD) to also be at the front of the race, after some impressive racing at Super League Triathlon Bali qualifier which secured her a ‘golden ticket’ to the main game and comfortable in her home town race.
Also feature races to keep an eye out for will be the Aquathlon on Saturday and the Paratriathlon Nationals that kick off at 8am on Sunday. For the full timetable and events program click the link below.