Fast and furious Mixed Relay racing makes its return to the Triathlon Australia calendar this Thursday, with Australia’s top triathletes joining forces with the next generation of junior and Under 23 talent at the Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational.
Despite the absence of an Australian team at the Hamburg Mixed Relay World Championships earlier this month due to international travel restrictions, Australia’s elite triathletes are eager to return to the fast-paced format of Mixed Relay racing at the Gold Coast Performance Centre on Thursday.
In a modified Mixed Relay format, athletes will compete in teams of two for a minimum $10,000 prize pool as professional racing continues to make its return in Queensland.
2018 Commonwealth Games Mixed Relay Gold Medallists Matt Hauser and Ashleigh Gentle will reunite as ‘The Runaway Baes’ team on Thursday in pursuit of another gold medal performance.
Speaking on the mid-week event, Hauser said that he’s looking forward to putting it all on the line with teammate Gentle, while also having a bit of fun.
“Having the opportunity to race at our training venue is always a good thing…I’m very grateful and very thankful to have racing on our doorstep,” Hauser said.
“To have the [Mixed Relay Invitational] at home and for friends and family to be able to come and support us…it’ll be a good opportunity to have a bit of fun, but there’s also a bit on the line with prize money, so it’d be rude for us not to shoot for the stars as well.”
“It’s also an amazing opportunity for the Juniors and U23 athletes coming through to compete alongside us and to see the standard at the top of triathlon in Australia.”
“As a Junior growing up, having the opportunity to race in the 16-19 category where I was racing much older and more mature athletes like Jake Birtwhistle, it definitely set a standard for me to work towards.”
With the Mixed Relay set to make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics next year, the event will provide athletes with a chance to refine their skills and strategy while also exposing the next generation of talent to world class relay racing.
Hauser and Gentle’s ‘Runaway Baes’ will be joined on the starting line by a quality field including Commonwealth Games representatives and Mixed Relay World Championship medallists, alongside rising Queensland stars.
Bribie Island Triathlon winners Jaz Hedgeland and Ryan Fisher will be looking to build upon their recent impressive performances, combining for team ‘Fishland’ for Thursday’s racing.
2018 Commonwealth Games representative Luke Willian is gearing up to run rampant at Runaway Bay with teammate Danielle De Francesco as team ‘Running From Rona’.
2017 Mixed Relay World Champion Charlotte McShane will be bringing the heat on Thursday, joining forces with rising Queensland star Lachlan Jones for team ‘Fire and Ice’, while 2018 Commonwealth Games Mixed Relay Gold medallist Gillian Backhouse and Nicholas Free look set to take a more tempered approach to racing as team ‘Slow and Steady’.
Among the rising stars set to challenge Australia’s elite will be Queensland’s Harry Ladd and Alexa Leary, who will do their best to set the pace as team ‘Race Pace’. While Junior Peyton Craig will be on the hunt for another solid hit-out after a strong performance against Australia’s Elite at the Bribie Island Tri when he teams up with consistent performer Eva Parish.
Regular Australian Junior Triathlon Series performers Harry King and Jazi Coventry, and Hunter McGovern and Ella Wooldridge will all pair up for the event, adding to the strong junior contingent.
The Mixed Relay Invitational will take place on the Gold Coast on Thursday September 24. Athletes will compete in teams of two, participating in a heat race across the morning, before progressing through to Finals in the afternoon.
The Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational is proudly supported by the City of Gold Coast and the Gold Coast Performance Centre.
Mixed Relay Invitational
Photo Credit: Delly Carr