Almost 5000 swimmers, cyclists, runners and triathletes will take part in the annual Husky Triathlon festival this weekend, February 16-18. This year is the 13th time the triathlon festival has taken place with fun runs, races for kids, ocean swims and triathlons to suit all abilities.
This year the triathlon festival has taken on the theme “Equality”, organiser Sebastian Gallery of Elite Energy Events, said.
“We have an event for all ages and abilities from three-year-old Ace Pascall from Berrara who is taking part in the 2km fun run to 72-year-old Robert Hekking from Bateau Bay taking on the Ultimate distance on the Sunday (an arduous 2km ocean swim followed by an 83km bike ride and a 20km run just for good measure)”.
The most experienced athlete of the weekend however is 78-year-old Bernard Crowe from Forrest, ACT who will be participating in the Sprint distance triathlon. This year the Sprint distance race has drawn triathletes from across Australia as it doubles as a qualifier for the ITU Age group World Championships to be held later in the year in Gold Coast.
Also known as Big Husky, the triathlon festival is the second largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, attracting some of the world’s fastest athletes to the main event - the Ultimate Husky Long Course. Last year it was 3 time Ironman World Champion Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander who took back-to-back line honours in the Men’s race, however a recent crash in training has ruled him out of this year’s event leaving the door open for 4 time Ironman Champion Tim Van Berkel and top tier pro Michael Fox who are already confirmed starters for this year’s event.
On Saturday all eyes will be on the women’s Sprint race as some of the world’s top ITU athletes will light up the streets of Huskisson. World number 2 and Australian Commonwealth team member Ashleigh Gentle will be tested by the likes of 2016 winner Amelie Kretz from Canada and Renee Tomlin from the US who are currently training in Australia with the Wollongong Wizzards. Gentle, who won the Australia Aquathon in Wollongong, is using the event in preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in April.
Not to be overshadowed by the Pros is crowd favourite, the Blue Dinosaur MINIMAN triathlon for kids aged 7-11. This fantastic grass roots event will see the young ones give their all as they swim 50m, ride 2km and run 500m for the 7-9 year olds; or swim 150m, ride 6km and run 1km for the 10-11 year olds.
“There’s something very heart-warming about watching kids cross that finish line with a big smile on their face. We give every kid a finisher medal and a T-shirt that they wear proudly with a great sense of achievement,” CEO of Elite Energy Mark Emerton said.
The weekend kicks off on Friday at 5.30pm with a 500m and 1km Ocean swim at Huskisson Beach. The Saturday hosts the shorter distance triathlons including the Enticer (200m swim/8km bike/2km run), the Sprint (750m swim/20km bike/5km run), the Blue Dinosaur MINIMAN triathlon for Kids and the 2k, 5k and 10k ON! fun runs.
On Sunday it’s one of Australia’s iconic triathlon races with the Ultimate Husky Long Course - an event that sees competitors swim 2km at Huskisson Beach, followed by a three-lap 83km bike ride along Woollamia and Jervis Bay roads, followed by a 20km two-lap run along the spectacular Vincentia coastal path.
Entries for all the races including the MINIMAN and the 2k, 5k, and 10k are available on race day. All road closures, athlete tracking and volunteer information can be found at www.eliteenergy.com.au