This Sunday the Southport Broadwater Parkland will play host to 2,200 triathletes at the Gold Coast Triathlon â€“ Luke Harrop Memorial which also doubles as the grand final of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series.
Junior world champion Ashleigh Gentle will end her domestic racing season at this weekend’s event after a very successful campaign starting with a second place at Noosa Triathlon back in October. Gentle then claimed a dominant win at the ITU Mooloolaba Oceania Cup last month.
Gentle currently leads the Luke Harrop Bursary point score and a win this weekend would see her secure the daily double and walk away $2500 better off. The Luke Harrop Memorial Bursary offers $1000 to each male and female Under 23 athlete for the race win and a bonus $1500 for the series winner. The three races in the series were Luke’s favourite â€“ Mooloolaba, Noosa and Gold Coast.
The event pays tribute to Luke, remembering his zest for life and the race that Luke loved so much.
Returning to take part in her brothers’ race once again, Olympic silver medallist Loretta Harrop who will compete as part of a team along with Luke’s best mates former junior world champion Chris Hill and Nino Calabro.
â€œLife is very different to what it was when I was an elite triathlete. The one race a year that I do compete in is the Luke Harrop Memorial, which obviously is quite dear to me,â€ said Harrop.
Bryce McMaster will also be aiming for the same result as Gentle but he could score himself the triffecta. McMaster only has to finish the race to secure the series win enjoying a 67 point lead over James Trevorrow. McMaster is also a contender for the overall Luke Harrop Bursary currently sitting in fourth spot.
He will have a big task on his hands as James Seear has put himself on the start line this Sunday. For Seear the race will be another stepping stone in returning to race fitness after three-months of recovery and rehab following a nasty fall in training after running over a snake. The 24-year-old needed 11 screws and a plate to repair the broken collarbone he suffered in the incident.
The women’s race for overall series champion is a much closer affair with just 3 points separating the top three contenders â€“ Maddison Allen, Chloe Turner and Brittany Forster.
19 year old Allen, with such a strong bike/run combination, is going to be tough competition. Allen claimed first place in the last round of the series and also took out a win in her age group category at the Geelong Multisport Festival in February.
22-year-old Courtney Gilfillan (The Channon, New South Wales), will make her return to racing following a long lay-off due to illness but will no doubt feature in the lead group.
Gabrielle Jones, twin sister of Olympic Silver Medalist and Ironman World Champion, Michelle Jones, will be one to watch in the Queensland Tri Series Female 40-44 age category.
There is an increasing number of Paratriathletes contesting events as athletes aim for selection to compete at the Paralympics in 2016 in Rio de Janiero. This will be the first time triathlon has been included on the Paralympic Program.
Bill Chaffey, 35 years of age, Bilambil Heights, NSW
Darron Shields, 42 years if age, Wurtulla, QLD
The Courier-Mail Kool Kids Tri gives participants an opportunity to swim, cycle and run for fun. It doesn’t matter how good they are at sport, it gives them the chance to challenge themselves, get healthy and active and boost their self esteem.
Isabella Sheehan, 12 years of age, Moorooka, Brisbane (competing in the 10-11yrs Kool Kids)
James Sheehan, 9 years of age, Moorooka, Brisbane (competing in the 7-9yrs Kool Kids)
Thomas Sheehan, 8 years of age, Moorooka, Brisbane (competing in the 7-9yrs Kool Kids)
After seven races from October 2010 to April 2011 the series has seen 12,000 competitors take part across the summer. The Gold Coast accounts for nearly 6,000 of these competitors with three of the series events held there, two at Robina and the grand final at Southport this weekend.
The event kicks off on Saturday with athlete registration, Gatorade Tri Clinics and Expo to explore.
Racing gets underway from 6.45am with the elite men starting at 7.28am and elite women 7.29am.
Race 7 Distances:
QTS Triathlon – 750m swim / 20km cycle / 5km run
Enticer Tri – 300m swim / 10km cycle / 2.5km run
The Courier-Mail Kool Kids Tri – 100m swim / 2km cycle / 400m run