70.3 racing will make its long-awaited return to Victoria this weekend, with more than 1,000 athletes descending upon Geelong for the highly anticipated Ironman 70.3 Geelong this Sunday.
Featuring a stacked line-up of Australian professional triathletes alongside veteran and first-time Age Group athletes, the 2021 event will see competitors contest the 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21km run in and around Geelong following a challenging year for Victorian athletes.
2020 Australian Long Course Champion Grace Thek is set to return to the much-loved Victorian event this weekend, marking just her second professional race since she took out the Australian title in Geelong last year.
Speaking to Triathlon Australia, Thek said that she’s thrilled at the prospect of 70.3 distance racing returning to Victoria this weekend.
“I always treat Geelong as a hometown race and I’m really looking forward to racing there,” Thek said.
“Geelong always has a special place in my heart as my first ever half Ironman and my first ever professional race. I’ve had three really good years there, and I’m hoping to make it four this weekend.”
“Annabel [Luxford] is out of the field after her recent retirement, so I’m hoping for a podium spot this weekend. I think the girls especially Amelia [Watkinson] and Ellie [Salthouse] are looking really strong, so it will be good to see where I’m at after a few more weeks of training since Husky.”
Thek will line up against a talented field of women, with plenty of notable names listed on Sunday’s start list including Amelia Watkinson and Ellie Salthouse.
New Zealand’s Watkinson will be looking to continue her impressive recent results, heading south to Geelong only two weeks after taking out the Open Standard Distance Mooloolaba title. While Salthouse will be on the hunt for another strong finish after her win at the 2021 Australian Long Course Championships in Huskisson earlier this month.
Featuring alongside Watkinson, Salthouse and Thek is a strong contingent of women, including Renee Kiley, Kylie Simpson and Penny Slater, making for an exciting day of racing.
In the Pro Men’s field, Leigh Anderson-Voigt heads to Geelong on the hunt for a second consecutive win after confidently winning the Open Standard Distance Mooloolaba Triathlon title earlier this month.
He’ll be joined on the starting line by 2021 Australian Long Course Champion Simon Hearn and an in-form Tim Reed, as well as defending Ironman 70.3 Geelong champion, Josh Amberger in his first race of the year.
Tim Van Berkel, Matt Burton, Steven McKenna, Levi Maxwell and Caleb Noble are also all set to make an appearance in Geelong come Sunday.
Meanwhile back on the Gold Coast, Elite, Under 23 and Junior athletes will be preparing for another jam-packed weekend of racing with the Gold Coast Super Sprint returning to Runaway Bay.
Emerging Under 23 and Junior talents will have the opportunity to test their skills against some of the best with Tokyo hopefuls Charlotte McShane, Gillian Backhouse, Emma Jackson and Luke Willian all making the trip to Runaway Bay as they continue to work towards Tokyo selection.
Gold Coast Performance Centre training partners Brandon Copeland and Kira Hedgeland will be looking to back up their solid performances at last week’s Mixed Relay Invitational over the short and sharp super sprint distance. While squad mate Matt Roberts will be chasing another quality performance when he takes to the starting line this weekend, off the back of strong results in Mooloolaba and Devonport earlier this month.
Under 23 talents Luke Schofield, Luke Bate, Emma Hogan, Jessica Ewart-McTigue and Lauren Kerwick will no doubt lay down a challenge for their senior counterparts, with all five athletes looking to carry their recent momentum forward into this weekend’s racing.
Reigning Australian Junior Sprint Champion Jack Crome will also be one to watch in Runaway Bay this weekend with the Queenslander a proven performer over the super sprint distance. He'll be joined by a host of talented junior athletes, including New South Wales’ Emma Olsen-Keating and fellow Queenslanders Georgie Fredericks, Peyton Craig and Harry Ladd.
The 2021 Gold Coast Super Sprint will see athletes compete in three events over two days, including a 300m/5.4km/1.5km qualifier, and two 200m/3.8km/1km Finals.
Triathlon Australia would like to thank Major Events Gold Coast for their support of the 2021 Gold Coast Super Sprint.
The Gold Coast Super Sprint will take place from Saturday March 27 to Sunday March 28. You can follow all of the action on the Triathlon Australia Instagram.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong will take place on Sunday March 28. Download the Ironman Oceania App via Google Play or the App Store to keep up to date with all the action, including live tracking and commentary, as it happens.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong
Gold Coast Super Sprint
Photo Credit: Delly Carr