COAST CLUB REVEALS NATION’S RICHEST IRONMAN
SHANNON Eckstein’s legacy in surf lifesaving has moved beyond just racing, with the decorated ironman launching Australia’s richest single-day event for the sport.
The 35-year-old has created the Shannon Eckstein Ironman Classic, an event carrying an incredible $84,000 in prizemoney.
The event will be held on March 22 and 23 at his home club Northcliffe, two weeks before the Australian titles.
The Classic will have $20,000 up for grabs for each of the winners of the ironman and ironwoman finals – the richest prize purse for one event.
Another $10,000 is on offer for Friday afternoon’s Dash For Cash events.
Eckstein will retire from professional ironman racing at the end of this season.
His farewell events include the Classic, Australian championships
at Broadbeach from March 30 to April 7, and NutriGrain series final at Wanda on February 22 and 23.
The man considered the greatest ever ironman said the Classic was his way of giving back to a sport he revelled in throughout its glory days of big corporate sponsors.
Eckstein said he hoped to make it an annual event and was proud to be able to provide another race for current and future athletes to earn money.
“This is a really big event and we have got some cool prizemoney. It’s more than any other event we have got,” Eckstein said.
“If we do a good job we will do it every year.
“I’ll keep running the event while we have supporters and sponsors. I’m really looking forward to giving back.
“Over 10 years ago we had a $50,000 race. It’s huge for someone to win $20,000 in this sport.”
Eckstein has won a record eight Australian ironman championships, nine NutriGrain Ironman Series and six world ironman titles – more than any other competitor in the history of the sport.
The revered oceanman said the event would provide the perfect lead in to the Australian titles and be a beacon of hope for athletes in a sport that has battled to stay financially viable.
Shaw And Partners CEO Earl Evans said he didn’t hesitate in putting his name behind the Shannon Eckstein Ironman Classic.
“These are the unsung heroes of Australian sport and Shannon Eckstein has been the leader of the pack – and as soon as I heard about it I just loved it,” Evans said.
“I first met Shannon in Hawaii last year and I was very impressed with him and many of the other guys like Ali Day.
“They are such good people and if ever anyone deserves a farewell like this it’s Shannon.
“I can’t wait – it’s going to be a spectacular couple of days I’m sure.”