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Sport

23 April, 2021

Ironman returns

ORGANISERS of the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns have unveiled a number of changes to the course for the 2021 event.


PHOTO: Mark Lancaster 2020

A capacity field of more than 3,500 athletes will make their way to Tropical North Queensland this June for the 2021 Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns and IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns events.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of IRONMAN Cairns, with athletes from across Australia and New Zealand to converge on the Cairns and Douglas Shire regions for the iconic event on Sunday 6 June.

Rob Stalling, The IRONMAN Group Oceania Regional Director, said that the course changes were designed to enhance the race day experience for athletes.

“Our team has worked hard to develop these course improvements that we hope will make the IRONMAN Cairns experience more enjoyable for our capacity field,” said Stalling. “We’ve looked at all elements of the event and have taken on board feedback from athletes whilst ensuring COVID compliance.

“We’re also looking forward to heading back to Port Douglas as we did in 2019 and can’t wait to see the support for athletes from the local community throughout the day,” he said.

The swim course at Palm Cove has been simplified, with less buoys meaning less navigation as athletes begin their race.

IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 athletes will now turn around the same coloured swim buoys, with IRONMAN athletes completing two laps of the course and IRONMAN 70.3 athletes completing one lap. The swim start will also be further south on Palm Cove Beach to increase the starting pen area and assist with spreading athletes out.

The bike course will see IRONMAN athletes complete two laps up and down the Captain Cook Highway and two less climbs of the famous Rex Lookout than the 2020 course, resulting in a faster course.

There’s also set to be more action at the northern bike turn as riders head back into Port Douglas, as they did at the 2019 event.

Once athletes cycle back to Cairns they will commence the run which will have less turns as the course no longer travels along Wharf St. Instead, athletes will have a more scenic run taking in the newly developed Cairns Esplanade and also a new section of course along Sailfish Quay, a throwback to a previous IRONMAN Cairns event when the swim leg started off the Cairns Marlin Marina.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the city was ready to roll out the red carpet to welcome athletes and their supporters.

“There is nothing quite like the anticipation in the lead-up to IRONMAN Cairns, and on race day the city atmosphere is electric,” Cr Manning said. “These slight changes will ensure more people will get to cheer on their friends and family and I look forward to seeing the restaurants overflowing and streets lined with supporters on race day.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr called on the local community to support Ironman coming into Port Douglas.

“Let’s get behind this year’s event and work out ways we can leverage off its presence in Douglas Shire to improve the benefits for our businesses,” he said. “

 “The 2019 highlights reel featuring our spectacular Great Barrier Reef Drive and entrance to Port Douglas has been viewed more than 16,000 times on YouTube,” said Cr Kerr. “From 10 am to 3pm, the section of Port Douglas Rd from Barrier St to Old Port Rd will be the place to watch all the action.

“There will be food trucks, entertainment and the perfect spot to cheer on the competitors as they ride in and ready themselves for the run back to Cairns,” he said.


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