10 Day Virtual Coolangatta Gold Launched
The inaugural Virtual Coolangatta Gold was launched on Friday October 16, with over 770 competitors registered across 17 countries to complete the various components of the event over the 10-day period finishing on October 25.
The event was announced in August after Surf Life Saving Australia made the difficult decision to cancel the iconic event due to border restrictions associated COVID-19 and is open to all SLSA members as well as the general public.
The 41.8km iron race is known for its toughness calls on competitors, elite and the everyday, to push their own limits, keep active and take part in the free Coolangatta Gold Challenge – “Your Gold, Your Way, Your Challenge”.
Participants are encouraged to connect with other athletes and share their ‘Gold’ by capturing photos or videos of them completing the event in their event lycra and uploading to social media with the hashtag #VCG20.
Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir said it was pleasing to see so much interest in the event from people from all over the world.
“We were deeply disappointed to have had to cancel the traditional Coolangatta Gold which is such a significant event in our surf sports calendar and when we announced the Virtual Coolangatta Gold we hoped the virtual aspect would spark interest across Australia and the world, given the limited amount of sporting events that have been able to take place,” said Weir.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for athletes to compete and connect throughout what has been a challenging time for everyone and it is fantastic for our sport to see so many people register, noting that over 300 of the registered competitors are from overseas,” he said.
“Thanks must also go to our event partner Tourism and Events Queensland for supporting the new iteration of the event and we hope that in the future, all our international competitors will seek to make the journey to the Gold Coast to compete in our iconic endurance race.”
Virtual Coolangatta Gold participant and South-African expatriate Brandon Kilbride (36), who now resides in Greater Manchester said he was excited to have a physical challenge and goal to work towards in 2020.
“As soon as this opportunity came up I jumped on it straight away… my first thoughts were it’s virtual – you can do it how you want to do it, there are no restrictions as long as you do the distances,” Kilbride said.
Myrthe Bakker (19) from Holland previously competed in the Dutch Junior team in pool swimming before switching to Surf Life Saving indicated that it was her coach who encouraged her to participate in the Virtual Coolangatta Gold after missing this year’s World Championships due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I stopped training in June and then decided that I wanted to be happy again because I like training and I love my teammates… so I’m so happy that we now have a goal,” Bakker said of her participation in the virtual event.
Starting from Friday, 16 October, Surf Life Saving Australia is encouraging all participants to share their Virtual Coolangatta Gold experience throughout the 10-day event by uploading to social media with the hashtag #VCG20 and follow along with the SLSA social media channels.
As part of the Coolangatta Gold festival, states around Australia will also be running physical endurance events for people to participate in locally, which will feature the Coolangatta Gold at Bate Bay and The Unbreakable at Alexandra Headland on the Sunshine Coast.
The NSW endurance event, the ‘Coolangatta Gold at Bate Bay’ will run on 24 October and will take place over 25km in the Bate Bay area with further event information available here – https://surflifesavingsydney.com.au/carnivals-surf-sports/coolangatta-gold-at-bate-bay/
Alexandra Headland SLSC will host “The Unbreakable” as part of the Coolangatta Gold festival which will feature a 16 km endurance surf race on the Sunshine Coast for Queensland athletes looking to compete. For more information head to – https://www.alexsurfclub.com.au/theunbreakable
For those in Tasmania wishing to compete in an endurance style event, The North West ‘Downwind’ Marathon will be taking place on 24 October and is the second race of a three round Marathon Series in Tasmania. For more information – https://tasmania.events/event/12137842-a/2020-north-west-downwind-surf-marathon
It’s not too late to register for the Virtual Coolangatta Gold! For further information, please visit www.sls.com.au/coolangattagold/virtual