Ironman Australia: 30 Years Of Excellence In Triathlon
In the world of triathlon one event remains synonymous with excellence: the Ironman Australia.
It is one of a series of qualifying events held worldwide that give aspiring participants a chance to compete in the prestigious Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
“Ironman” itself has become an iconic global brand; the standard by which other triathlons are measured against.
2016 Ironman Australia winner Tim Reed said the training and preparation for an Ironman triathlon is different and more challenging.
It’s not just the physical aspect but the mental and emotional aspects as well.
For competitors like Reed the objective for participating in Ironman Australia was to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
Who Qualifies For The Ironman?
The Ironman World Championships in Hawaii remains the most prestigious race in triathlon.
To qualify for the world championships, races are staged in different countries around the world.
These countries include:
• The United States
• New Zealand
In Australia, the Ironman is run in three locations:
- Ironman Australia– Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia
- Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship – Cairns, Queensland, Australia
- Iron Man Western Australia – Busselton, Western Australia
If you are a professional, you can qualify for the world championships though a points-based system.
There are also slots allocated for the world championships for amateurs who finish high in their age group.
Ironman Australia as with other Ironman series events has a strict finishing time of 17 hours.
The race usually starts at 7:00am with the mandatory cut off time for the swim portion at 9:20am or a qualifying time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Mandatory cut – off time for the bike race is at 5:30pm or 8 hours and 10 minutes.
Lastly, the mandatory cut-off time for the marathon is 12:00am or 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Anyone who finishes the Ironman within these periods will become an Ironman.
The Ironman Australia Triathlon Series
The Ironman series arrived in Australia in 1985; a good 30 years ago. The inaugural event was held in Forster-Tuncurry.
There were only 165 participants in the race. In 1986 the Ironman attracted 289 participants and it has been steadily growing every year since then.
In 2006, Ironman Australia found a new home in Port Macquarie, New South Wales which is four hours north of Sydney.
The course covers the following route:
- Swim- 3.8 km; features a rolling swim start 1lap course in the Hastings River between Mainland and Pelican Island.
- Bike – 180 km; features a 2 lap course from Port Macquarie along the Pacific Ocean and Camden Haven.
- Run – 42 km; 4 lap course heading east past the rock wall before Settlement Point and finishing in Port Macquarie.
The event has 55 qualifying slots for the world championships in Hawaii.
Are You Ready To Complete In Ironman Australia?
If you plan to join Ironman Australia but you are not sure how to prepare for it, Ironman Australia has an “Ironman University”.
This is where interested participants sign up and learn about developing training plans, sports nutrition, event preparation plus techniques and tips to improve your times in swimming, cycling and running.
There are also smaller races available in Ironman Australia. These are called “Ironman 70.3” which uses a shorter course.
The Ironman Australia 70.3 in Sydney has the following course:
- Swim- 1.9 km; This one lap swim is located in the man-made Penrith Lake which was home to the 2000 Sydney Olympics regatta. The rectangular course starts and finishes in front of the grandstand.
- Bike- 90 km; Participants will be treated to a scenic view of the Blue Mountains and through the countryside. The road surfaces are smooth which sets good conditions for registering fast times.
- Run- 21.1; This 2 lap run course goes around Penrith Lake. The course heads out and back around the perimeter of the lakes on the inner footpath
Contrary to popular opinion, training for Ironman Australia may not be as long and tedious as you believe.
Many participants in Ironman Australia share that they spend no more than 10 hours training time per week to get ready for an Ironman Australia 70.3 event and 15 hours training time per week for the regular Ironman Australia.
The average training cycle suggested for an Ironman Australia is 3 months.
Assuming you follow your training program and nutrition plan strictly, you should be able to cross the finish line without problem.
So if you have what it takes to drag your body through 17 hours of swimming, biking and running join the Ironman Australia triathlon?