POPULAR CONTEST

Thousands expected to compete at the Huskisson Triathlon

BREAK out the budgie smugglers and get on your bike, the Pearl Izumi Huskisson Long Course Triathlon Festival is on again this weekend. 

Organisers are expecting between 4000-5000 competitors to flock to Jervis Bay for the iconic event, with entries from every Australian state and territory, as well as 11 other countries. 

It has been a busy time for Elite Energy managing director Mark Stewart and his committee to get everything ready, but he said the course is looking fantastic and they are ready to go. 

“Some people might not realise the significance of the event, but I think it is one the Shoalhaven should value very dearly,” he said. 

“It’s become a bit of an iconic event and the great thing is we see so many coming back every year,” he added. 

While it may not offer as much prize-money as other triathlons, the Huskisson event is rated among the top 10 in the world. 

Stewart said he thought there were a number of reasons the event was so popular, with the Jervis Bay setting being a clear factor. 

“It’s a great course and it’s set in one of the most spectacular locations,” he said. 

“We attract a good level of interest and the calibre of some of the athletes is phenomenal. 

“They are right up there with Olympic standard athletes and most of them would be good enough to excel individually in all three of the disciplines.” 

The showpiece event is the long course triathlon on Sunday morning, which is made up of a two kilometre swim, 80 kilometre bike ride and a 20 kilometre run. 

Some of the best in the business will contest the event, with last year’s winner Tim Reed back in his trademark budgie smugglers to try to defend his crown, but he will face some tough competition from the likes of Craig Alexander and 2012 world ironman champion Pete Jacobs. 

But before you go thinking it is all for elite competitors, there are also fun runs and kids events, so there is something for everyone, regardless of their age or ability. 

Stewart wanted to stress the event would not be possible without all the help and support received from volunteers and he is looking forward to a great weekend.

Events begin this afternoon with an ocean swim, followed by a full day tomorrow from 7am and the long course on Sunday.

The long course event starts at 6.30am on Sunday, with the top finishers expected to come in from about 10am.

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