Auckland will host a new annual ironman 70.3 championship from next January with prizemoney of US$75,000 up for grabs.
Ironman 70.3 Auckland will be designated as the official Asia Pacific championships and will provide an additional opportunity for athletes to qualify for the annual 70.3 world championship at Las Vegas.
The race on January 20 will showcase iconic Auckland landscapes with a swim in the Viaduct Harbour, a bike course that includes the Auckland Harbour Bridge and a run along the Auckland waterfront.
Ironman 70.3 Auckland brings the ironman series full circle back to Auckland. The city was the first international race venue chosen when the ironman brand began its global growth in the mid-80s. Today the brand continues to growth with more than 30 ironman and 60 ironman 70.3 races around the world and more than 150,000 participants annually.
Ironman New Zealand was staged in Auckland for 14 years before moving to Taupo in 1999 and has attracted more than 22,000 participants, more than half from overseas.
Ironman 70.3 Auckland is expected to attract more than 1200 professional and age-group participants, including a significant number of international athletes. The event will offer a professional prize purse of US$75,000, 1500 professional points for the elite field and 45 age group qualifying slots for the ironman world championship 70.3.
"New Zealand and Auckland hold a special place in the history of ironman and the sport of triathlon," World Triathlon Corporation chief executive Andrew Messick said. "When the ironman team began to expand the event series globally, Auckland was chosen as the first international venue.
"Over the years, New Zealand has embraced the sport of triathlon with an unmatched enthusiasm while producing incredible talent. It's fitting to bring a major championship to New Zealand and to the magnificent city of Auckland."
Ten-time Ironman New Zealand winner Cameron Brown believes the new event will be a boon for the sport and his city.
"Much of my passion for the sport came from those days as a kid watching ironman from along the Auckland waterfront," Brown said. "To now have the opportunity to race in an ironman 70.3 event in my home town, and a major championship at that, is going to be very special. I can only hope a whole new generation of young kiwis get the same buzz from Ironman 70.3 Auckland and take up the sport.
"The ironman 70.3 races are booming around the world for both professionals like myself as well as keen amateurs. I am a proud Aucklander and this is a chance to show our city off to the world."
The course comprises a 1.9km one-lap swim in the Viaduct Harbour, a 90km bike course over the Harbour Bridge followed by a two-lap city section to St Heliers, and a 21.1km two-lap run along the Auckland waterfront.