The URBAN 2.80.20 is set to become one of Australia’s most hotly contested long course triathlons in 2012 with a star studded field toeing the line for the inaugural event on February 12th in Geelong, Victoria.
Already confirmed starters Leon Griffin and Tim Berkel will have their work cut out for them as current Australian Ironman Champion Pete Jacobs, Matty White and 40-time iron distance finisher Justin Granger take their positions on the start line alongside these two. (We only found out White was a starter after publication).
The women’s field is just as strong with three of Australia’s leading ladies of long distance racing all announcing this week they will contest the event. Multiple Ironman champion Rebekah Keat will again face long time rivals Belinda Granger, one of our most decorated triathletes and Australian Ironman Hall of Fame inductee and former Australian Ironman champion Carrie Lester.
With $12,000 in prize money, the 2km swim, 80km cycle and 20km course has proven to be a popular attraction to Australian long course triathletes.
USM Events CEO Geoff Meyer said the caliber of athletes that had signed on for the URBAN 20.80.20 really underpins our decision to include the long distance race onto the program this year.
â€œThese guys are the best in the business and selective of the events they chose to race, so we are thrilled to have that sort of acknowledgement and support from them.
â€œIt will definitely make for one very competitive and exciting race over a fast course in Geelong, the traditional home of long course racing in Victoria,â€ said Mr Meyer.
Tim Berkel’s second successive win at the recent Challenge Copenhagen earned him the title of the youngest three-time iron distance champion. In 2012 Berkel will focus on half iron distance events with his eyes set firmly on claiming victory at the inaugural URBAN 2.80.20.
â€œI was stoked to hear USM were putting on a long course race in Geelong and it was really an easy decision to sign up. It’s great to be able to race at home and I’ve heard great things about the course, so looking forward to it.
â€œMy focus next year is racing the half distances and long course both at home and overseas, I’ve done a lot of Ironman racing in the last few years and need to change it up, so I’ll be racing more.â€ said Berkel.
The fast paced, multi looped course along Geelong’s spectacular waterfront and scenic countryside is a major attraction amongst competitors.
â€œI’ve never been to Geelong, so that in itself is a draw card for me to race there – I heard it’s a perfect race location.â€ said Pete Jacobs.
Jacob’s support from sponsors is what gives him the confidence to take on the popular new course.
â€œThe support from sponsors and event organisers is the only reason I’m able to compete well and with confidence, so I want to win this inaugural event for them, and in a speedy time too.â€ Jacob’s said.
Belinda Granger, winner of Challenge Wanaka earlier this year, supports Jacob’s statement and it will be her first race for 2012 along with husband and coach Justin Granger.
“I was so excited when they announced the Long Course race in Geelong. For starters 2/80/20 is one of my all-time favourite distances, and the perfect way to kick-start my season.
â€œI have also been looking for a good excuse to get back down to Geelong to race as it has been a few years since I raced down there and I always enjoy my time in Victoria.â€ said Granger.
Hot on Granger’s heals will be dual Challenge Copenhagen winner Rebecca Keat who also won the inaugural Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns in June ahead of Granger in 5th and Carrie Lester in 3rd.
Lester won her first ever attempt at an iron distance triathlon 18 months ago at the Australian Ironman Championships edging out Keat, and is ready to match it again come February.
The URBAN 2.80.20 is a welcomed addition to the Geelong Multi Sport Festival to be staged on February 10-12, 2012. The three-day multisport festival not only brings together some of the world’s best elite athletes, but also competitive age group triathletes, while also catering for sporting enthusiasts, active life stylists and a host of community based events accessible to everyone.
Entries are well ahead of initial predictions for the URBAN 20.80.20 with the Geelong Olympic Distance Triathlon also gaining momentum.