The Caloundra Triathlon will play host to some of Queensland’s best senior and junior talent this Sunday for Race 5 of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series.
Unlike any other event in the series, Race 5 will host the Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Triathlon, an elite only race that sees the best in the sport contest a short, multi-lap sprint distance triathlon – making for great spectator viewing.
The non-traditional racing format will test the versatility of elite athletes and will see them complete a 400m swim, 7km cycle and 1.8km, followed by another 200m swim, 7km cycle and 1.8km run before they cross the finish line.
With a total prize purse of $15,000 up for grabs this unique event has attracted some of Australia’s, top young elites.
In the women’s event, World Junior Champion Ashleigh Gentle and Courtney Gilfillan will be up against international stars Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) and Liz Blatchford (UK) for the title and cash.
Gentle, will head into the race as slight favourite from Sweetland and Blatchford on the back of her recent good form with a win in Devonport at the ITU Sprint Triathlon last month. The 19 year old also claiming a coveted second place at the 2010 Noosa Triathlon but after finishing second at this race last year has her sights set on the big prize.
Blatchford is sure to be at the top of the field as she uses this race as preparation for the upcoming international season that gets underway at the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup next month and the season opener Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Sydney event.
Sweetland won the ITU World Cup at Mooloolaba in 2009 and recently took out silver medals at the U23 World Championship at Budapest and at the Premium Pan American Cup in Kelowna. Sweetland will also use the event to fine tune her racing skills ahead of Mooloolaba ITU World Cup.
Gilfillan has emerged from the junior ranks to be one of Australia’s new generation elites and will be keen to show the crowds at Caloundra that she is a force to be reckoned with after placing second at Race 4 in the Gatorade QTS at Robina last month.
The men’s event will also be hotly contested with the Sunshine Coast’s Tim George and Ben Shaw hoping their inside knowledge of the course will play to their advantage.
George and Shaw will have to hold off a swag of other young elite competitors including 2009/10 series winner Bryce McMaster, who is proving himself to be one to watch out for after placing in the top 10 at Noosa Triathlon last year.
â€œThe past year has been a whole new learning curve for me,â€ McMaster said, who only received his professional licence in 2010.
Brisbane’s Sam Betten is also coming into some good form after a win in round 4 at Robina, his first race of the season after a heavy training block.
‘I think it’s going to be a hard and fast race, the short distances mean that you have to race hard from the front if you expect to be there on the final run,â€ said Betten.
‘It felt great to kick start my 2011 by winning the Gatorade Series race at Robina. I’ve been doing a lot more training at race intensity since then so I would say I’m a lot more prepared to race than I was 2 weeks ago.’
‘I raced last year’s event and although I didn’t get the result I was after, learnt a lot on how to attack the Enduro race format. I’m hoping this experience will give me an edge over my competitors come Sunday’
Sam is hoping for an early birthday present as he will celebrate his 23rd birthday the following day.
Brisbane’s Chris Rawling, who crossed the line second at Race 4 in the series, suffered horrific injuries two years ago during the Airlie Beach Triathlon and is charging his way back from injury to compete in the elite event up against the current 2010/2011 Gatorade Queensland Triathlon Series leader, Bryce McMaster.
â€œIt’s just so good to be back racing, it’s taken a long time but I’m slowly getting back to my best,â€ said Rawling on his third place at Race 2 in Raby Bay.
USM EVENTS Managing Director Geoff Meyer says come race day there will be plenty of action and new names to keep an eye on.
â€œThe Gatorade Series has provided a great platform for unveiling new talent within our junior ranks and those on the brink of stepping up to the elite category,â€ said Mr Meyer..
â€œThe racing is sure to be extremely intense, highly competitive and very spectator friendly,â€ said Meyer.
Aside from the Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Tri, Sunday’s event will also serve up Race 5 of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series.
The Sunshine Coast will be well represented in the open female event with Yaroomba’s Brigitte Fischer, 2010 Caloundra Triathlon Open Female Winner, up against Buderim’s Chloe Turner, 2010 Gatorade Queensland Tri Series Female Runner-Up.
Sunshine Coast’s Ben Holland, who took out the 2009/10 Gatorade Series, will be looking to impress the home crowd without the pressure of George, Shaw or McMaster who are competing in the elite event.
However, the Gatorade QTS isn’t all about the elite and open competitor’s, the series caters for all levels of entrants and offers two distances for competitors aged 13 to 80+ and one category especially for kids.
With categories like Mates Wave, Clydesdales, First Timers as part of The Courier-Mail Kool Kids, teams and the Enticer distance for newcomers there really is an event and distance to suit any it is little wonder this sport has taken off, giving everyone a chance to experience the thrill of this swim, bike and run phenomenon.
Gatorade QTS Race 5 Distances:
QTS – 400m swim | 15km cycle | 4km run
Enticer – 200m swim | 5km cycle | 2km run
The Courier-Mail Kool Kids – 100m swim | 2km cycle | 400m run
6.45am – The Courier-Mail Kool Kids
7.00am – Enticer
7.30am – Gatorade QTS
Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Tri:
9.45am – Elite Female Race Start
10.40am â€“ Elite Male Race Start
Swim 1: – 400m
Cycle 1: – 7km
Run 1: – 1800m
Swim 2: – 200m
Cycle 2: – 7km
Run 2: – 1800m
Woorim Park, Golden Beach, Caloundra
Entries and detailed information available at www.usmevents.com.au