Hamil­ton Is­land hosts in­au­gu­ral Su­per League Triathlon

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Dane Lilling­stone dane.lilling­stone@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

WORLD-CLASS ath­letes com­pet­ing in nat­u­ral breath­tak­ing beauty with international tele­vi­sion ex­po­sure – the first-ever Su­per League Triathlon on Hamil­ton Is­land has been a re­sound­ing suc­cess.

On Thursday, 23 of the fittest ath­letes on the planet con­verged on the pop­u­lar Whit­sun­day is­land to com­pete in the Su­per League Triathlon.

The new se­ries saw the tra­di­tional Olympic triathlon for­mant sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced from a 10km run, 40km bike ride and 1.5km swim to a 2km run, 6km bike and 300m swim.

Vari­a­tions of this for­mat were then run, with the Triple Mix event on Fri­day, Equal­izer on Saturday and Elim­i­na­tor ti­tles on Sunday.

Points from all three days were added up to crown the over­all and in­au­gu­ral Su­per League win­ner.

In the end it was South African Richard Mur­ray who dom­i­nated the three-day event as he claimed vic­tory

❝ .. by (tai­lor­ing) the sport to TV, we are ex­pos­ing it to a new group of peo­ple who may have never seen it be­fore. — Chris McCor­mack

and a $100,000 pay­day.

Spain’s Mario Mola fin­ished sec­ond over­all for $50,000 and back-to-back Hamil­ton Is­land Triathlon win­ner Aus­tralian Jake Birtwhis­tle claimed third over­all for $30,000.

Head­lin­ing the starstud­ded line-up was two-time Olympic gold medal­list Alis­tair Brown­lee, five-time world cham­pion and Olympic sil­ver medal­list Javier Gomez, and mul­ti­ple world and iron­man cham­pion Ter­renzo Boz­zone.

But the name per­haps most recog­nised by the Whit­sun­days faith­ful was 2016 un­der-23 World Cham­pion and two-time Hamil­ton Is­land Triathlon win­ner Jake Birtwhis­tle.

The Whit­sun­day cli­mate threw up a few chal­lenges for com­peti­tors.

Two days of sear­ing heat and hu­mid­ity on Fri­day and Saturday were re­placed with tor­ren­tial rain early on Sunday af­ter­noon. The tem­per­a­ture may have been cooler but the ath­letes were still feel­ing the heat.

The three-stage race saw ath­letes elim­i­nated in each stage, with race tac­tics play­ing as much a part as pure speed.

Dual Olympic cham­pion Alis­tair Brown­lee was a pre-race ca­su­alty, with­draw­ing from the fi­nal day as a re­sult of ill­ness.

The brain­child of two-time Iron­man World cham­pion Aus­tralian Chris McCor­mack, Su­per League aims to rein­vig­o­rate the sport of triathlon by giv­ing it a twist and putting it on the global stage.

Speak­ing at a me­dia brief­ing at the Hamil­ton Is­land Yacht Club on Thursday, Mr McCor­mack said he re­mem­bered the “glory days of the sport” and


SET­TING THE PACE: Aus­tralian and two time Hamil­ton Is­land Triathlon win­ner Jake Birtwhis­tle claims the Elim­i­na­tor ti­tle at the Su­per League event on Hamil­ton Is­land.

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