The prestigious Port of Tauranga Half triathlon has received further kudos in what will be its 25th anniversary event in January 2014 with confirmation the iconic race will again carry National Long Distance Championship status and World Championship qualification.
The news comes just over a week out from entries going online on May 1 and will only reaffirm the race as one of the most popular on the summer calendar with age group selection for the 2014 ITU Long Distance World Championships up for grabs.
Chief executive of Sport Bay of Plenty Wayne Werder is expecting demand to be high.
"We are delighted with the news that the Port of Tauranga Half will be the National Long Distance Championship in 2014," he said.
"With the event also celebrating its 25th anniversary, it is shaping up to be an event to remember, and having the leading elite and age group athletes at the Mount to help us celebrate is particularly exciting.
"This will be a special edition of a special event and I have no doubt demand will be high with many former participants keen to return and be a part of the 25 year celebrations."
The event has been fully subscribed in recent years and 2014 is expected to be no different.
Triathlon New Zealand chief executive Craig Waugh says the national body is proud to play its part in an event that has meant so much to so many people over the past 24 years.
"The word iconic has to be earned and the Port of Tauranga Half has certainly earned the right to that status. It is a hugely popular event in a wonderful part of the country and Sport Bay of Plenty continue to deliver a great experience for all participants," said Waugh.
"It is a fantastic test for age groupers looking to earn a spot on the New Zealand team for the ITU World Long Distance Champs later in the year and yet also a course that favours the weekend warrior whose biggest goal might be simply to make the finish line.
"Triathlon New Zealand is proud to be associated with Sport Bay of Plenty in the continued delivery of this fantastic event."
The Port of Tauranga Half can look back on a history that has seen the race evolve alongside the sport with a stunning list of winners, led by long distance legends Cameron Brown (9 wins), Joanna Lawn (4) and internationals such as Aussies Rebekah Keat (3), Kate Bevilaqua and Craig Alexander.