Title-sponsored by Australian apparel specialist Scody, the organising team at Challenge Melbourne note that the event has yet again, drawn out one of the strongest and most talented fields of the season in the Asia Pacific region.
Kick-starting Challenge Family’s international tri season, this year’s iconic Challenge Melbourne triathlon takes place on Sunday 31 January 2016.
With some changes to this year’s course, athletes will be pushing themselves to the limits on a brand new run track. Participants will no longer go on the out and back towards bayside tri club or have to climb the Jetty Road Hill. Participants run through the beach path at Trey Bit oval, cross jetty road and continue along the shaded path and turn at Sandringham Life Saving club.
Runners will head back towards the venue along the bike path that runs parallel with Beach Road. The new course will be much flatter which should see quicker run times for all competitors
Challenge Melbourne includes a 1.9K swim in Port Phillip Bay, Brighton Beach, a 90K three lap cycle leg following Beach Road past Sandringham and Black Rock before turning at Centre Way – and followed by a 21K three lap run that travels along the beach pathway to Sandringham and finishing at Brighton Beach.
In another new feature to the Challenge Melbourne event, a Sprint Distance has been introduced for the first time in 2016. Comprising of a 700m swim, 30km cycle and closing with one lap of the 7K run course, The organisers add that Challenge Melbourne now caters for all experience levels of triathletes, encapsulating the Challenge Family message, ‘We Are Triathlon’.
Road to Roth
In an exclusive opportunity for athletes, this coming weekend marks the opportunity for all 32 age group category winners to have the chance to take up a starting spot in the revered DATEV Challenge Roth event, which will be held in Germany on 17 July 2016.
Known to sell out in under a minute, Challenge Melbourne adds that these spots are ‘incredibly rare and one of the greatest experiences a triathlete can have.’
Returning for another shot at the $20,000 prize pool on offer this weekend Australian home-town hero and 2015 Challenge Melbourne winner, Leon Griffin, is just one of many high-calibre elites that will turn out for Sunday’s event.
Speaking exclusively to Challenge Family and Challenge Melbourne organisers, Sports Media and Entertainment 360 ahead of the weekend’s race, Griffin said “I love to race at home in Victoria when I can as I don’t get much a chance these days. I want a well organised race and interesting course, and I know I’ll get that thanks to the organisers of Challenge Melbourne who do a first class job.”
Fellow triathletes Annabel Luxford, Tim Van Berkel and Josh Rix are just a couple of fellow Australians who will be joining Griffin on the start line in what is shaping to be a fierce battle for the podium placings in the elite category of both the male and female races.
Displaying the drawcard that Scody Challenge Melbourne places with the elite athlete field, the internationally-acclaimed duo of Per Bittner and Yvonne Van Vlerken will make the trip from Germany, to test themselves in ‘Australia’s only major inner-city triathlon’.
The women’s field includes Brisbane born, Melbourne based Annabel Luxford who won the inaugural race. Carrie Lester who finished third at Challenge Roth last year lines up for the first time in Melbourne. Also on the start line is Katy Duffield in her first year as a full time pro and making her first foray into the long distance racing scene Natalie Van Coevorden and veteran Lisa Marangon
After experiencing somewhat treacherous conditions in the 2015 edition of Challenge Melbourne, the current forecast looks to be somewhat friendlier than last year which had Leon Griffin relatively optimistic about the weekend ahead.
“I don’t mind the extremes in weather that can be thrown up to the competitors on race morning,” said Griffin. Touching on the ever-nervy subject of weather forecasts, Leon continued ‘obviously last year was cold, wet and challenging. Cast back a year before that, I believe the first year endured near 40C temperature, so I’m guessing the event is due some perfect weather this year.”