(Posted - 04 Nov 2010)
The field is set and excitement throughout Western Australia is building for the Anaconda Adventure Race at Augusta next weekend. The race has reached epic proportions with entries selling out 3 months ago, and the field size maintaining its status as the biggest adventure race in the world. A hot field of competitors from across the Tasman will be chasing victory in what could be a terrific showdown for race glory.
The course at Augusta is known for its wild beauty and competitors are thrust straight into it with the challenging 13.5km Endura Coastal Run that includes some epic sections over the rocky shoreline right from the word go. In a reversal of triathlon etiquette, the 1.9km GSC Ocean swim leg is held after the run with competitors swimming through crystal clear waters out from Flinders Bay on leg number 2.
Competitors then set to water on Hardy Inlet for the 13km Inlet and Ocean Paddle leg to punch out through the river mouth and along the coastline towards the lighthouse and back into Flinders Bay. A quick transition puts them on their bikes for the 32km Tanita Mountain Bike leg on the surrounding coastal trails, and the final 2.5km MargaretRiver.com team run sees them collapsing in a heap over the finish line after an epic day.
As a sign of the enthusiasm of Western Australians for Adventure Racing, the number of individuals tackling the race by themselves has grown to an incredible 320 after only 220 did the event solo last year. The remainder of the capacity 700 entry field consists of teams from all over the state with an increasing number also travelling from across the country to converge at the small south west township of Augusta who’s population will grow tenfold or more over race weekend.
The event will also incorporate the Trans Tasman Adventure Racing Championships which will pit the three best Aussies against the three best Kiwis in an adventure racing title fight like no other. The Australian team consists of Jarad Kohlar, Grant Suckling and Deanna Blegg, all of whom are seasoned campaigners who, between them, have won a dozen Anaconda Adventure Races. The Kiwi team of Dougal Allen, Gavin Mason and Louise Mark are adventure racing champions back in New Zealand, winning or securing podium finishes in every race they’ve entered for years, so are in equally good form.
Race Director, John Jacoby, a former World Champion Adventure Racer himself, knows what it takes to win and thinks the Aussies might just have the upper hand. “The Anaconda Adventure Race is an all out sprint for these guys. The winner will do it in just under 4 hours, which makes it much shorter than the standard 12 plus hour races the Kiwis are used to. The three Aussies know what to expect too." said Jacoby, “but then again, New Zealand is the breeding ground for adventure racers so you have to expect these guys to be pretty hot."
No matter what happens on race day, the event will deliver two new individual champions with no previous Anaconda WA individual winner toeing the line in the same category. Last year’s men’s winner Sean O’Neil has just returned from a European holiday and is competing in a team which means that anyone of up to 6 guys could take the honours. The women’s field is also wide open with defending champion Kim Beckinsale also a non starter – only time will tell who will walk away with the $4,000 winner’s cheque in each category.
The teams' categories will also see some great competition with defending champion Team Shotz entering two teams chasing line honours, whilst rumor has it that Sean O’Neil, who is doing the run and ride whilst team mate and Surf Life Saving Champion Brendan Sarson does the swim and paddle legs, are also in a quest to be first over the line.
So the stage is set and competitors are amped for the World’s Biggest Adventure Race at Augusta on Sunday November 7th. If you’re within 500miles of the race, then it’ll be well worth coming to watch or if you’re further afield then follow it on twitter with updates to be posted throughout the day on http://twitter.com/Rapid_Ascent