A huge crowd is expected to watch some of Australia’s best triathletes go head to head at one of the world’s best courses for both athletes and spectators at IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong.
The natural amphitheater at Eastern Beach provides a number of fantastic vantage points for spectators, as does the multi-loop bike and run course.
With Geelong providing the location, the entertainment will be provided by two Olympians and a three time IRONMAN world champion, as they go head to head at one of Australia’s most picturesque venues.
Arguably Australia’s most decorated male triathlete, three time IRONMAN world champion and two time IRONMAN 70.3 world champion; Craig Alexander is excited to again be on the start line for IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back to Geelong to race. It is a great place to race, the waterfront venue is awesome and I have good memories there, winning two 70.3's and a couple of medals at Aussie titles,” he said.
Given the races proximity to IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Melbourne, Geelong has attracted a stellar elite field, which includes defending IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong champion Christian Kemp, and dual Olympian Courtney Atkinson.
Atkinson, who made the transition from short course to 70.3 last season will again step up in distance taking on IRONMAN Melbourne in a little over a month.
“My goals in 2014 season are focused around trying to master the full Ironman distance race and come October be competitive in Kona. Geelong 70.3 will provide a great early hit out to evaluate just where my body is at with the new focus on the Ironman."
He’ll provide Alexander with some stiff competition and be hoping to continue his unbeaten run over the 70.3 distance.
Atkinson’s Olympic team mate Brad Kahlefeldt has travelled the same path switching to the longer distance and also enjoying instant success, but is determined to put his demons aside after withdrawing from this race last year in the bike leg.
Defending champion Kemp is coming off a solid showing at IRONMAN 70.3 Auckland late last month and is hopping to fight his way onto the podium’s top spot.
Olympian and two time ITU world champion Emma Moffatt will be the headline act in the women’s race as the Beijing bronze medalist is hoping to go one better than last year.
“I did Geelong 70.3 last year (finishing second) as a race to end my base training phase. Initially I said I'd never do another one, but I'm all entered and eager to race!! Last year I mixed drafting races with non-drafting and really enjoyed the change, so after Olympic distance long course is something I'd like to take more seriously,” she said.
Moffatt’s 2014 season will be a mix of Olympic distance and 70.3 races.
“I’ll be doing be quite a few ITU World Series races, Glasgow Commonwealth games, and also hoping to qualify for IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships and finish the season back in Australia with the Nepean and Noosa triathlons,” she said.
Moffatt is looking forward to racing in Geelong, and in the future expects to make a permanent move into the longer form of the sport.
“It's been months since I've raced so it will be good to blow the cob webs out. Geelong is a great venue for the race, last year I thought 90km on the bike would feel like forever, but the multi loop course goes relatively fast and the two loop run has a lot of variety which mentally makes it easier,” she said.
“I think there comes a time in your career where you need a change, both physically and mentally. So the natural progression seems to be to go longer. It's still extremely hard training, but maybe less intense compared to Olympic distance. Also, athletes are able to have more freedom in the races they choose!
Have you seen the destinations Courtney (Atkinson) races in? I wish ITU choose some of the islands he goes too.”
IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong is part of the Geelong Multi Sport Festival, held from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 February 2014.
Race starts at Eastern Beach at 7.05am