Spe­cial event added to Air­lie Beach Triathlon

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

In a con­certed ef­fort to be in­clu­sive, this year’s Hog’s Breath Air­lie Beach Triathlon is adding a new event to its pro­gram.

Just the fourth race of its kind in Aus­tralia, the Au­to­pro Spe­cial Tri gives ath­letes with spe­cial needs the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete over two dif­fer­ent dis­tances.

While the inau­gu­ral race will be held on Satur­day af­ter­noon, in con­junc­tion with the ju­nior event, ath­letes of any age can com­pete and can have the as­sis­tance of a guide where nec­es­sary.

The guide may be a fam­ily mem­ber or friend, or one of the Whit­sun­day Triathlon Club mem­bers who have their weight, and ex­pe­ri­ence, be­hind the con­cept.

The race was sug­gested by club mem­ber Dawn Ro­manella, who has a child with spe­cial needs, and the con­cept was warmly re­ceived by club pres­i­dent Steve Jack­son, who him­self has two sib­lings with spe­cial needs.

“I have ex­pe­ri­enced coach­ing bas­ket­ball teams that my brother and sis­ter were a part of in the Spe­cial Olympics move­ment,” he ex­plained.

“Hav­ing seen the joy their in­volve­ment brings and hav­ing wit­nessed the Spe­cial Tri events at Noosa and Mooloolaba triathlons, I just thought that it was some­thing we could add to our pro­gram.

“Our de­ci­sion was re­in­forced when triathlon was added to this year’s global Spe­cial Olympics event.”

Mean­while, train­ing is be­gin­ning to ramp up for ath­letes of all ages, with an in­creased pres­ence at club ses­sions, at Can­non­vale Swim Cen­tre ses­sions and tread­ing the boards along the Bi­cen­ten­nial Board­walk.

“Be­ing the first race in the im­me­di­ate re­gion, the Air­lie Beach event is of­ten a kick­start into the sum­mer, which sees a much more re­laxed event and a late flurry of train­ing,” Jack­son said.

To as­sist in the clos­ing weeks, lo­cals are en­cour­aged to join the cy­cling ses­sions with Ride Whit­sun­days and head along each Sun­day af­ter­noon at 3pm to the Port of Air­lie Beach for ocean swim prac­tice.

Online en­tries re­main open un­til mid­night on Septem­ber 3, with late en­tries ac­cepted on Septem­ber 5.

How­ever, late en­tries are un­able to be guar­an­teed an event shirt.

The Air­lie Beach Triathlon of­fers en­ticer (300m swim, 10km cy­cle and 2.5km run) and sprint (750m swim, 20km cy­cle and 5km run) dis­tances as well as team op­tions.

There are also var­i­ous chil­dren’s events to suit a wealth of age groups and abil­i­ties. This year’s Air­lie Beach Triathlon has also in­cor­po­rated a schools’ chal­lenge, which will see each of the lo­cal schools bat­tle it out for $1000 worth of sports equip­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, phone Steve Jack­son on 0408 236 483.

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