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Find out if you are made of iron as the popular triathlon returns to Port Mac

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

✦ As we prepare to celebrate the festive season and all the over indulgence that frequently comes with it, we are also conscious that a New Year is on the horizon and with it the chance to set new goals.


These are personal and varied although one popular pledge is to raise our fitness levels and enhance our health during the 365 days ahead of us.


So, for those of an athletic and sporting persuasion that truly want to raise the bar, what better than to enter the IRONMAN triathlon, which is being held in Port Macquarie on May 7, 2023.


The occasion will be unique among IRONMAN triathlons contested throughout the world in that there will be two events of differing lengths running concurrently – IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3. There will be an added cause for celebration and an extra buzz in the air as the event returns after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the range of restrictions this enforced. What better way to celebrate returning to normality than to participate or spectate at a truly great occasion that has been held every year in Port Macquarie from 2006 to 2019.


IRONMAN triathlon will be held in Port Macquarie on May 7, 2023 Featured on Brilliant Online
IRONMAN triathlon will be held in Port Macquarie on May 7, 2023
As the official IRONMAN website so perfectly describes, “The superb race offers a unique challenge set along the Port Macquarie region's spectacular coastline. This is the home of the Oceania TriClub championship and will see you and your mates swim in the calm waters of Hastings river, ride along the Pacific Ocean, and run in the heart of Port Macquarie with the crowds cheering your name.”

To enhance the occasion furthermore, the organisers have confirmed that they have moved the finish line back to the Town Green for next year’s event.


"We are excited to announce that the finish line has been moved back to the Town Green. Moving the location to the centre of town will capture the electric atmosphere that Port Mac has to offer for when you cross the finish line,” the organisers explain. “With the stunning backdrop and your family and friends sitting in grandstands, we are positive it’ll be a finish line you’ll never forget.”


The gruelling event sure isn’t for the faint-hearted. The IRONMAN 70.3 race sees a combination of a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run, while the IRONMAN race doubles these distances and sees a 3.8 km swim, 180km bike ride and a 42.195km run.

Starting off in the water, participants will swim in the calm and protected waters of the Hastings River from Westport Park and head North before turning back on themselves and returning to the starting point. The race start will commence in a Rolling Swim Start, allowing Age Group athletes to self-seed themselves into Start Zones prior to the race start. Each Start Zone will align to a different expected swim time with all Start Zones located prior to the swim start. There will be four different Start Zones to choose from depending on an athlete’s expected swim time. Athletes will be released in intervals across the start line and timing mat. As you cross the start, your timing chip will activate, and your individual time will start. The rolling start will continue from Zone 1 to Zone 4 until all athletes have crossed the timing mat and begun the race.

The initial start of Ironman starts from swimming in Hastings River featured in Brilliant Online
The initial start of Ironman starts from swimming in Hastings River

Next up is the 90km and 180km bike ride on an entirely new course for the Port Macquarie IRONMAN contest, designed to lessen the impact the event has on the local community, while also increasing enjoyment for athletes. Competitors will transit from the water to the cycle course, which starts on Clarence street, before embarking on a few rolling hills along Ocean Drive.


Spectacular ocean views will be afforded as riders head down towards Tacking Point Lighthouse before continuing south towards the turnaround in Lake Cathie. Returning north, athletes will then tackle the infamous Matthew Flinders Drive climb for the first time before repating the entire route for a second lap.


Once the bike ride has concluded athletes will transition at Westport Park before taking on the 21.1km and 42.195km run. Heading eastwards, the IRONMAN website explains: “You can expect to hit a slight incline before heading back down to the iconic Port Mac rock walls where you will experience the cheers and support from locals, loved ones, and TriClubbers. Once you pass across the front of Westport Park, you will start to head North to the turnaround on Settlement Point Road just past the 8km mark. Then, head back the way you came to complete your first of two laps. At the end of the second lap, get ready to bring it home as you approach the red and black carpet at the Town Green.”

90km and 180km bike ride on an entirely new course for the Port Macquarie IRONMAN contest, featured on Brilliant Online
A 90km and 180km bike ride on an entirely new course for the Port Macquarie IRONMAN contest

Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of Oceania for The IRONMAN Group, said that the new bike course was an exciting development for the popular event.


“IRONMAN Australia is the longest running IRONMAN event in the country, and we’re thrilled to be able to add to its storied history by launching this exciting bike course,” said Meyer. “The new bike course will take IRONMAN athletes onto roads they’ve never raced on before, adding a new element to an event that celebrated its 35th anniversary this year.


“A key component of the new bike course is that the only way to unlock tackling these new roads is to race the full IRONMAN event, with those taking on the 180km ride the only ones to head west on Hastings River Drive and into the rural section,” he said.


“We’re excited to see what these new roads add to the event, and how they mix up the racing next May. This event will also be unique in the way that we will have two races, IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3, taking part on two separate courses at the same time, an element that sets IRONMAN Australia apart from any other event in the world.


“As well as adding a new element to IRONMAN Australia this new bike course will also limit the impact on the Port Macquarie Hastings community,” said Meyer. “The population has grown significantly in recent years and in designing this new course we’ve been able to move it away from these population centres. We’re guests in the region and want to make sure that the community welcomes our athletes back for many more years to come.”


Port Macquarie Hastings Council Executive Manager Strategy, Duncan Coulton, said a new bike course would breathe fresh air into the event, and allow Port Macquarie to remain a viable location for the competition’s future.


“Following a targeted consultation process with our business community, we’re excited to be able to move forward in partnership with IRONMAN on the implementation of the new bike route,” Mr Coulton said. “Given the trends we’re seeing with the growth of the population in the Camden Haven region, this move to implement a new north-west route will enable the event to remain sustainable and to continue to grow into the future.

It is possible that a new Route will be opened in the next Ironman event featured on Brilliant Online
It is possible that a new route will be opened in the next Ironman event

“We look forwarding to working with IRONMAN as planning continues to take place ahead of the 2023 event in May,” he said.


More on IRONMAN Australia can be found at www.ironman.com/im-australia


A video detailing the new bike course can be downloaded here.

 

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