New IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Course Unveiled
An iconic Australian course featuring a surf swim and a "lumpy" ride into the hilly hinterland will greet athletes at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship at Mooloolaba, Queensland in September—the first time the championship event has been staged in the Southern Hemisphere. The famed Sunshine Coast in Queensland will step up as one of the global destinations in the sport of triathlon with this new, more challenging course. Organizers have developed a course worthy of a world championship, showcasing the unique features of this quintessential Queensland beachfront resort. It incorporates a challenging ocean swim, a stunning ride through the Mooloolaba hills, and a picturesque run along its famed coastline.
Mooloolaba has hosted the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival, and the ITU World Cup races for several years; the course for this particular world championship, however, will provide a new challenge, as local Queensland-based professionals Caroline Steffen and Josh Amberger can attest to.
Amberger says a key point in this race will be the swim. While it will be a deep water start, athletes from oversees especially will need to be aware of the rolling surf conditions that are common to the Sunshine Coast. "The surf swim is a first and anything could happen with a beach swim. The race could break up with the surf conditions, or the run on the soft sand," Amberger said. "Plus, there's a hill straight out of T1 that will soften the legs further."
In terms of the bike, the previous multi-lap course has been replaced by a one-lap route that takes in the rolling hills to the west towards Palmwoods. "Credit goes to the organizers for putting together a unique bike course. It should be a fair race, and while it's not as tough as last year, we have a real championship course," Amberger added.
Steffen believes the hilly nature of the bike will affect the outcome: "There's one good climb of 18 percent and overall it's lumpy and technical. If it doesn't break up completely on the bike itself, it will definitely take the sting out of the legs of the pure runners," says Steffen.
Race Director Chris Price has the following tips for each leg of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship course:
Swim overview – A deep water start adjacent to Mooloolaba Beach with a one-lap rectangular course in a counter-clockwise direction.
→ Tip: Athletes should familiarize themselves with water conditions that may include rolling swells, although traditionally winds are light at this time of the year.
Bike overview – The 90-km bike starts with an out-and-back section on the Sunshine Motorway before an undulating lap course through the hinterland.
→ Tip: Be prepared for a wide range of terrain varying from flat and fast where competitors can find a nice rhythm, to up-and-down on heavier chip road seal.
Run overview – The 21.1-km run is over two laps from Mooloolaba Beach over Alex Hill and along the foreshore to the café precinct in nearby Maroochydore.
→ Tip: Be prepared for warm conditions and the ability to maintain a fast tempo over four hill ascents.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth preview of the course, including tips on how to specifically train and plan your trip.