New record ahead of Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold
Defending champions Alistair Day and Courtney Hancock will be chasing their own slices of history at this weekend’s record-breaking Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold.
A record number of 741 competitors across 487 entries are set to take part in the iconic Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold events with entries yet to close.
The increase of over 100 competitors on last year and 25% boost in entries marks the biggest line up in the history of the event which originated with Guy Leech taking the title in 1984, returned in 2005, and now enters its 18th year.
Day races for a record-equalling fifth Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold title- with the current record held by Cain Eckstein – while Hancock is chasing her third crown.
If successful, Hancock will join original champion Hayley Bateup (2005-06), Alicia Marriott (2009-10) and Elizabeth Pluimers (2013-14-15) as the fourth woman to secure a back to back win in the event.
Day also competes to match Eckstein’s record of three in a row, but will have to defeat his rivals brother Shannon – the most successful Ironman competitor in the sport’s history – who returns to Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold long course after last competing for second place 2007.
“I’ve done some different things in the gym this year working with Taylor Cecil and his business Taylor Made Coaching, fine tuning my body and getting it ready,” said Day.
“I’ve also been trying to slow my head space down and work on the mental side of things. I think as athletes we think too far ahead and start panicking and worrying about things that are out of our control so I’ve been trying to focus on the good stuff and just enjoy what I’m doing, because I know it’s not going to be there forever.”
Joining Day and Eckstein on Sunday are the likes of Northcliffe pair Jake Nicholson and Kiwi hope Cory Taylor, Newport trio, Max Brooks, Jackson Borg, Jonah Beard and Surfers Paradise boys Nathan Gray, Luke Chapman, Shane Pierce, and Taddy McDonnell in a strong line up for the Elite males.
Eckstein said he has looked to his brother Caine’s training and nutrition ahead of taking on the challenge: “A four-hour race is not normal for me and I haven’t done that for a long, long time so I’ve got to learn things from Caine.”
“In saying that, the Coolangatta Gold’s a runner’s race. The fastest run leg usually wins the race so I’ve got to try to break that mould. I know I’m not going to have the fastest run leg but I need a run leg that’s good enough to hang on.”
The Elite Women’s race will feature Hancock, who has been “all over this course” with Northcliffe club mates Maddy Dunn and Kiwi Danielle McKenzie under coach, two-time Olympian Naomi Flood who will joined by a host of talented Ironwomen – notably Kurrawa’s two-time Australian champion Rebecca Creedy – third last year and North Burleigh’s second-placegetter Allie Britton.
Throw in youngsters Georgia Miller and Maddie Spencer (Newport), Lana Rogers (Noosa), Naomi Scott (Many) and veteran Tiarne Smith (Northcliffe) and the Elite women will have a great race on their hands.
““Preparing for this race you can’t take short cuts. You can’t skip a morning or skip an afternoon. You have to be able to put the work in and also listen to your body. It’s a race that will really challenge you but it will feel fantastic at the end, it really does,” says Hancock.
“I know in myself I don’t have too many more ahead of me so every race I do now I want to make the most of it.
“I have put a lot of work into this. It hasn’t been easy but as an athlete this is what I do, this is what I love and I just want to make my loved one proud and myself proud. See if I can surprise myself.”
Commencing at 7.30 am on both days, the 21km short course opens this year’s event on Saturday with a shorter course format, with the 1.65km Youth Challenge and 41.8km long course taking place on Sunday.
The long-course event on Sunday, October 8, which also includes a 6.1km board paddle and a concluding 7.1km run, will start and finish at Coolangatta Beach.
A new race map for the short course means a different experience for both competitors and spectators on Saturday, October 7.
Racing in the 21km event in previous years has been over an out-and-back course, but this year all transition zones will be at the start/finish area at Coolangatta.
After the start at Coolangatta, competitors will follow a loop course for the 10.5km ski paddle, the 2km swim, 3km board paddle and 5.5km run – allowing spectators and supporters the chance to easily follow the progress of the race.