The Ironwoman Invitational presented by Ohana Ocean Athletics will see Australia’s best athletes go head to head in an epic battle of skill, fitness and endurance.
The three-phase eliminator format will see the 14 elite athletes line up on Cronulla beach at 10.30am on Sunday 6 November. They will contest a swim, board, ski and run, with their physical ability put to the test along with their mental strength.
Just 10 of the 14 athletes will go through to the second round, and they are afforded just a five-minute break before starting all over again. Four more athletes will drop off at the end of the second round and then it comes down to the final five – a five minute break before a final swim, board, ski and run.
One winner will be crowned, taking the glory along with $5,000 prize money.
The Northcliffe trio of Courtney Hancock, Rebecca Creedy and Harriet Brown are at the top of their game and will all be aiming for a finals berth.
Hancock, a three-time Nutri-Grain Ironwoman series winner was the first woman to win the coveted triple crown all in one year when she also won the 2011 Australian Ironwoman Championship and Coolangatta Gold title.
“A lot of athletes would say the eliminator format is their favourite and a lot would say the opposite, it divides us,” Hancock said.
“You definitely have to have strategy, you have to be very tactical throughout this event. You have to make sure you can rest as much as you can and save something in the tank for the final race, but you need to make sure you are in the last race as well. “
At 33, Creedy will be the oldest competitor in the field whilst 16-year-old Naomi Scott from Freshwater on Sydney’s northern beaches will be the youngest.
“It is a really good mix of athletes,” Hancock said. “There are some really good young girls coming through. They are competitive and hungry, they give the older girls a good rumble. And then there are girls there who have been getting stronger and stronger over for the last few years.”
The Ironwoman Invitational forms part of the Qantas Assure International Beach Festival, being held in Cronulla from 3 – 6 November, and incorporating Ironwoman into a multi-sport festival is something that Hancock and her competitors are excited about.
“For anyone coming down to the Festival, the Ironwoman will be great to watch,” Hancock said. “This is one of the hardest events in our sport, there will be plenty of action and the start list is the best of the best. It is a cool opportunity for young nippers in the area to see some of their role models race.
“For us to be part of something bigger than just our event is awesome. It’s nice to meet different athletes and it is really good for our sport to change it up and keep it fresh. We will definitely be asking the surfers for some tips on what the ocean is doing and it will be cool to learn from other female athletes about what they are doing in all aspects of their sport.”