Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Fu­ji­film Hamil­ton Is­land Triathlon is now more than just a mere race, it’s a rounded event com­plete with at­mos­phere and hype.

Nearly 400 ath­letes took part in the triathlon on Satur­day morn­ing, making it the big­gest field in Hamil­ton Is­land’s history.

But it wasn’t just the swim, ride and run that made the event tick, as the event’s side dishes com­ple­mented the main course.

“We’ve tried to ex­pand year on year and now we’ve reached the tip­ping point,” or­gan­iser Steve Jackson said.

“We can’t just have an hour and 10 minute race, we’ve got to make sure we’re en­grossed in dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences, clin­ics, shops or tri­alling dif­fer­ent prod­ucts... we need to make it about the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It felt like a really pleas­ant en­vi­ron­ment.”

Other than the over­all growth of the event, Jackson said he was thrilled to pro­duce a unique triathlon course that had even the best com­peti­tors fight­ing for air.

“We al­ways talk about the course be­ing en­gag­ing. You have to be able to cor­ner, change gear, climb, de­fend. It’s not a course you can switch off on,” he said.

“Some peo­ple strug­gle with it be­cause it’s not flat and it suits peo­ple who can ride. This course tests tra­di­tional triath­letes who have pace.”

The White­haven Beach Ocean Swim also boasted re- cord num­bers, with more than 340 swim­mers hit­ting the wa­ters on Sun­day.

“It’s great to at­tract peo­ple from out­side the area and also within it too,” Jackson said.

“It’s great for ev­ery­body in the re­gion and great to get them in­volved, which helps the com­mu­nity feel.”

RECORD FIELD: Star triath­lete Emma Jackson takes on wa­ter dur­ing Satur­day's race on Hamil­ton Is­land.

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