Ironman’s M-Dot brand is continuing to build momentum Down Under with the announcement of Ironman 70.3 Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. Ballarat has been announced as host city to the new 70.3 event over the next three years. This came after local Government support was confirmed for the three year term.
The first event, to be held on Sunday 16 November 2014, will uphold a long tradition of Ironman racing in Victoria. This ‘high-demand event will see athletes rush for tickets to participate’ when online entries go online from Tuesday 6 May 2014 for Triathlon Australia members and Thursday 8 May 2014 for general entries.
In what is being seen as a fantastic addition to the city’s already impressive portfolio of events, Ironman 70.3 Ballarat helps to emphasise the Australian city’s ability to attract and retain world class events. This is complemented by events such as the World Rowing Masters Regatta in October and the Road National Cycling Championships each January.
Ironman 70.3 Ballarat will begin at Lake Wendouree with a 1.9K swim, followed by a 90K bike ride that will incorporate parts of the historic Remembrance Drive. The final leg will be a 21.1K run around Lake Wendouree.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Joshua Morris expressed his excitement at hosting the event. “We are delighted to host the first ever Ironman 70.3 Ballarat,” he said. “Ballarat is renowned as a premier host city for national and international sporting events and we are pleased to welcome elite athletes from around Australia to our city.”
Ironman Asia Pacific CEO, Geoff Meyer said the new Ironman 70.3 Ballarat has the potential to be one of the best events in Australia with an exciting new course, great destination, close proximity to Melbourne and a unique grassroots flavour.
“We’re thrilled to be working with such enthusiastic partners that have embraced Ironman and are committed to working with us to ensure the event’s success for all stakeholders for many years to come,” said Meyer.
“We expect Ironman 70.3 Ballarat to attract more than 1400 competitors and thousands of accompanying visitors to the area, providing a tremendous economic boost and tourism spotlight on the region.
“Sport and recreation is at the heart of every community and Ballarat has a long and proud history of producing champions and hosting world class events,” Meyer added.
A part of the event will be the inclusion of a relay team category, which provides ‘a stepping stone into the sport for locals and corporate partner participants.’
The event will attract and feature a number of ‘Super Teams’ featuring well known celebrities and sports stars. There will also be some friendly rivalry amongst various sporting and corporate groups over the race weekend.
Ballarat Regional Tourism CEO George Sossi is delighted to be partnering with the City of Ballarat and Ironman to deliver a great event for competitors and the community. Sossi commented that the new Ironman 70.3 is another example of Ballarat’s reputation as regional Victoria’s sporting event hub.
“Sporting events play a significant role in tourism and bringing visitors to town,” Sossi said. “Ballarat will see significant economic benefits from the event, as well as exposing participants to the many activities and attractions Ballarat has to offer.”
He continued, “Moreover, hosting the event for the next three years provides us with the opportunity to build this into a hallmark event, similar to the national cycling championships.”
Event organiser, Ironman Asia Pacific, is committed to bringing the Ironman experience to Australia’s key regional areas and Ballarat provides an important new destination in the team’s expanding annual calendar.
A strong professional field, headed by multiple Ironman champion and event ambassador, Luke Bell, will be waging their own battles on a course that has been stamped with their approval.
“I grew up doing races as a kid in Ballarat and the Western Districts of Victoria, so Ballarat holds some pretty special memories for me,” said Bell.
A 19 time winner of Ironman 70.3 races around the world, Bell is determined to carve his name into the history books as the inaugural champion.
“I’m looking forward to going back and racing there; I was in my early teens when I raced in the Victorian Triathlon Series,” he said. “It’s great to have another event in Victoria and it’s these type of races with such a great community feel and support that I love to be involved with.”
Held on Sunday 16 November 2014 – with around 1400 age group and professional Ironman competitors – Ironman 70.3 Ballarat will offer 30 age group qualifying spots for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell Am See-Kaprun, Salzburgerland, Austria on 30 August 2015. The professional prize purse will be US$25,000.