- Monday 05 September 2016
The outstanding competitors in the 2016 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship have been honoured today at the Banquet of Champions as the culmination to one of the most successful international sporting events to be held on the Sunshine Coast.
A crowd estimated at around 25,000 people lined the course in glorious early spring weather on Sunday to see nearly 3000 competitors from 80-plus nations chase individual glory in the first IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tourism, Events and Sports Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the council-sponsored race had enhanced the region’s already strong reputation for hosting world-class sporting events.
“What we witnessed on Sunday was truly spectacular,” Cr O’Pray said.
“The Sunshine Coast really turned it on and everyone I spoke to across the day raved about the experience they had enjoyed and the Coast as a venue for the world championship triathlon.
“The racing was amazing, the place was buzzing and it was really pleasing to see so many locals out on the streets cheering on the triathletes whether it was in Mooloolaba, through Alex and Maroochydore or out on the far reaches of the cycle course.
“It has reinforced that we are one of the true homes of triathlon.
“The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is also estimated to generate an economic contribution of $15 million for our local economy.
“The nearly 3000 IRONMAN athletes accompanied by family members or friends will spend on average five nights on the Sunshine Coast and many are staying on longer to make the most of their stay.
“Our thanks go to everyone who played a role in making the last few days so special for our region and especially to our residents who showed their patience with the traffic changes.”
IRONMAN Ocenia Managing Director Dave Beeche said the Sunshine Coast had “really turned it on” for the world titles week which included the Ocean Swim, Boardies Beach Run Supporting Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, the Parade of Nations, Welcome Banquet and IRONKIDS event before Sunday’s racing.
“Sunday was just fantastic,” Mr Beeche said.
“The support was amazing. The hill over Alex was just full of people cheering on our athletes.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has loved being here and loved the experience.
“It’s been an absolute winner.”
Amongst the visiting international contingent was United States representative Matthew Lynch, from New York City, who raced in the men’s 40-44 years division and rated his day as “awesome”.
“It was like the whole town had come out. The course, the volunteers, the weather - it was all perfect,” he said.
“It’s definitely a great place for a race.”
Volunteer Tracey Blackstone, from Maroochydore Swimming Club, said she had enjoyed the opportunity to mix with the international triathletes in the Mooloolaba transition area.
“It’s been a really nice experience. The competitors were all so friendly and so polite, saying ‘thank-you for helping me’,” she said.
“There were lots of people and lots of energy.”
The 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will take place in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The championship race will be a two-day event with the professional and age-group women racing on Saturday, September 9 and the professional and age-group men racing on Sunday, September 10.
The naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast is the host region and official destination partner for the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar.
Pic credit: Matt Roberts/Getty Images for IRONMAN