This weekend (11-12 August) will see Noosa become the centre of burgeoning Australia’s adventure racing scene as hundreds of competitors arrive in town to unearth the Sunshine Coast’s wild side as they prepare to race the first edition of the Anaconda Adventure Race National Series for 2012.
The most popular adventure racing series in Australia by participation, the Anaconda Series is coming to Noosa for the first time after a six-year stint on the Gold Coast. It will also use the Noosa debut to launch its all-new Anaconda Mini, an abridged version of the main event which will give those new to adventure racing a taste of the sport without the intimidating distances involved in the full length version.
Ideal for younger competitors and first timers, the Anaconda Mini also aims to encourage a higher rate of female participation, giving women an entry level entree to adventure racing.
Noosa marks the beginning of a three-round series that promises some exciting racing at the pointy end, with a strong field of elites set to contest the prize money and glory on offer.
Anaconda stalwart Jarad Kohlar has been winning anything he’s entered of late from adventure races to Rapid Ascent’s own Salomon Trail Run Series and will be considered a hot favourite.
He’ll face the speed and hunger of Kiwi, Braden Currie, who won on the Gold Coast last year and has registered sterling performances in multisport events back over the Ditch recently, including 3rd in the Coast to Coast and 1st in the Motutapu Xterra Triathalon. Others likely to push into the top pack include Reece Stephens and Alex Polizzi, who registered a podium place at the Marysville to Melbourne, showing his form is on the rise.
In the women’s field there is sure to be some competitive racing, with M2M winner Peri Gray travelling north for a crack at the inaugural Noosa title. She will be chased hard by again by Jacqui Watts, who came second in the same race.
Local racer Kim Beckinsdale will have course knowledge up her sleeve, having assisted Rapid Ascent in its creation, while last year’s Series titleholder Deanna Blegg (pictured) will as always be a race favourite as Australia’s top adventure racing competitor for the past few years.
Another performance outfit to watch for is local all-female team packed full of punch and led by professional mountain biker and local veterinarian, Naomi Hansen. She’ll be joined by 15 year old, Maroochydore-based lifesaver, Peggy Harris; another top end surf lifesaver in Noosa Heads’ Nicci Chapman and Leslie Saunders-Webb, a local teacher and mother of two with an amazing trail running background. Read more about the Sunshine Coast scorcher team here.
There will be plenty more stories out on the adventure paddock, too. Like the team of two, Stinky Inches (we’re not asking), a “lethal combination” of Matt ‘adventure freak’ Stewart and “modern day superhero and all round tough guy” Daniel ‘Danno’ Bissaker. Stewart, fresh off completing a 12Hr Adventure Race, is a local lifesaver with the Mooloolaba club. Danno is a local kite surfing legend normally at home 20 feet in the air off Coolum's cranking surf sets. Matt and Danno reckon they will be “giving this race a red hot go in our first event together.”
There is the team of four, Boanoites who write in their team entry that “After years of saying he’s going to get off the drink and get fit, Ernie (Dan Ahern) was entered in this event by a mate, who happened to be on the internet while Ernie was drunk and said he wanted to do an Adventure Race.” We suggest you have a big drink, Dan...but replace the beer with electrolytes.
Katy Kirby from Tewantin, Queensland, deserves special mention: she’s a mother of one year-old twins and Noosa will mark her return to solo adventure racing.
And what about the Gazelles, a team entry ripe for the plundering as a bar joke, given it consists of a Kiwi, a South African and an Australian.
The Woodies also get mention, competing as a husband and wife team from Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland.
And while the well-trained adventure racers will be putting it all on the line during Sunday’s race, there will be plenty of first time adventurers getting a taste for all things Anaconda on the Saturday with the first ever Anaconda Mini launching onto the adventure racing scene and the Junior Survivor giving kids a taste of the action.
Check out what they can expect by watching some vision from last year’s Junior Survivor. Click the video
Full course details for Noosa Anaconda Adventure Race at www.anacondaadventurerace.com