The Challenge series of Iron distance races has finally made it’s way to Australia’s shores with the Challenge series organisers today announcing in conjunction with USM and Carins Regional Council that they will be staging the event in Cairns from 2011.
The Challenge Cairns event has been announced after nearly 18 months of negotiations between the Challenge series headquarterd in Germany and the State Government, Cairns Regional Council and sporting events company USM Events and is tipped to become one of the world’s most iconic triathlons, with a scenic backdrop and course to rival any other.
Challenge Cairns will be held on June 5 next year and is expeted to pump millions of dollars into the region’s economy, with hundreds of race officials and family attending to support the competitors.
Details of the course will be announced today but is understood to include parts of Port Douglas, Yorkeys Knob and the Cairns CBD, with the finish line at Fogarty Park. Organisers hope the event will quickly rival the Ironman events in Port Macquarie and Busselton.
A community festival and other sporting events will be staged to coincide with Challenge Cairns.
Premier Anna Bligh was yesterday thrilled to announce the event, saying it will provide a significant annual boost to the region’s embattled economy.
“Challenge Cairns will have the highest prizemoney of any Challenge branded triathlon in the world, making it the second-richest triathlon event in the world,” she said. The prize money is set at $142,000.
Event coordinator USM Events chief executive Daryl Herbert said the event would instantly put Cairns on the global triathlon map.
“This is a significant long-term event that will drive tourism to the region with people arriving four or five days before it starts and staying on to relax afterwards,” he said
Rebekah Keat, Tim Berkel and Pete Jacobs have all committed to the event next year and were on hand at the launch this morning. Given that the race is just one month after the rival WTC Ironman in Port Macquarie, this may mean these athletes will choose to miss the WTC race which would be a blow for an event that has recently struggled to attract big name athletes.