Triathletes will descend on Taupō this Saturday for the Ironman 70.3 competition.
The half-triathlon event will see about 1300 competitors, 500 volunteers and crowds of spectators gather around Taupō.
The course involves a 1.9km swim in Lake Taupō, a 90km bike route along Broadlands Rd and a 21.1km run along the lakefront.
Competitors will be hoping to bag one of the 75 Ironman 70.3 World Championships entries or 15 extra Tri Women slots for next December’s international competition, which will also be held in Taupō.
To get the little ones into the race day spirit, there will also be a kids’ fun run event on Friday, December 8 from 8am at Kaimanawa Reserve, with spaces still available.
Participants will finish on the Ironman 70.3 red carpet and will receive a medal and a T-shirt.
This weekend sees the first time Ironman 70.3 has been held in Taupō since it went on hiatus in 2019.
Mayor David Trewavas said he was eager to welcome athletes back to the town.
“We love to welcome all participants with our true Kiwi spirit and we support you and your families as you train and participate in this amazing event.
“While you are here, we really hope you get the chance to get out and about to further explore our town, recent winner of the Supreme Towns & Cities Award, Beautiful small town finalist Tūrangi and the wider Taupō District.”
The event is a major undertaking for the town, with volunteers from local schools, sports clubs and organisations working to help keep proceedings on track.
In return, it’s a significant fundraiser for the groups, with more than $20,000 raised each year.
The roads around the region are expected to be busier than usual in the lead-up to the event, and there will be numerous road closures on the day.
With nearly 20 per cent of Saturday’s participants coming from overseas, Taupō District Council district events and venues manager Steve Giles said this Ironman and next year’s world event will provide great opportunities to put Taupō on display.
“We love showcasing our district to the world. Each year, we strive to ensure we create a great experience for all the athletes and supporters.”
Ironman 70.3 Taupō race director Wayne Reardon said he was also excited about Ironman’s return.
“We can’t wait to welcome over 1300 registered athletes back to Ironman 70.3 Taupō and wish everyone the best for an awesome day of racing.
“We’re excited to see these athletes achieve their goals on race day and celebrate their achievements alongside friends and whānau.
“Taupō is cementing itself as the place to race over the next 12 months, with plenty of opportunities to experience its breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and the locals’ pure Kiwi spirit.
“With just over a year left until the 2024 Ironman 70.3 World Championship comes to Taupō, we know plenty of athletes will be racing on Saturday with the goal of earning their qualification slot – and with 75 slots available plus an extra 15 just for women, there are plenty of opportunities.”
Check www.taupo.govt.nz/Ironman for a full list of road closures and up-to-date information.
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