The pressures of race organisation, not performance, have delivered ironman Shannon Eckstein some sleepless nights as he prepares his parting gift to the sport.
The 35-year-old will retire at season's end from a career that has netted him 41 Australian championships, including a record eight Ironman titles, over 20 years.
Also a winner of nine Nutri-Grain Series and six world Ironman titles, the surf sport great will direct and compete in the inaugural Shannon Eckstein Ironman Classic at Northcliffe on Saturday.
Billed as the biggest single-day payday in surf sport, the $90,000 event is Eckstein's legacy project as he prepares to say goodbye to racing at the Australian Championships next weekend.
"The last two nights I haven't slept too well and its not because I'm nervous about racing or anything - I'm nervous because I've got my name on an event and I want it to go well," he said.
An early-season calf tear has slowed Eckstein this year but he will push hard to take the cash in his own race from the likes of Ali Day, TJ Hendy, Matt Poole, Matt Bevilacqua and brother Caine Eckstein.
Courtney Hancock heads a stacked women's open ironman field, with the winner of each event earning $20,000, while a $10,000 dash for cash kicks off proceedings on Friday.
"I'll definitely be having a crack, I won't be holding back," Eckstein said.
"I spoke to Ali last week and he's got his wedding after Aussies so he's going gung-ho to put the $20,000 towards his wedding bill.
"The $20,000 would be enormous (but) it would be enormous just to win my own race."
Australian Associated Press