Triathletes ride across the airport runway during last year’s Hamilton Island Triathlon.
Triathletes ride across the airport runway during last year’s Hamilton Island Triathlon. Delly Carr

Top stars line up at island

WORLD champions and Olympic athletes will line up for a jam-packed weekend of multi-sport challenges at the annual Fujifilm Hamilton Island Triathlon and the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim this weekend.

Acclaimed athletes such as Susie O'Neill and Ky Hurst will race alongside competitors of all ages and abilities over the endurance sport weekend, which has been billed as one of the most unique and scenic courses in the world.

The Fujifilm Hamilton Island Triathlon tomorrow has attracted defending champion and former world junior champion triathlete Ashleigh Gentle, as well as Olympian Maxine Seear and semi-professionals Josh Amberger and James Seear.

About 300 triathletes will compete in the sprint distance event, which has one of the most unique courses on the triathlon circuit.

The event starts with a 750-metre swim in Catseye Bay at Hamilton Island, followed by a 20km cycle around the southern part of the island, including the airport runway.

Then there is a 5km run around the marina, with a finish on the resort-side of the island.

Nearly one-third of the competitors will be in the teams division of the triathlon, including champion ironman Ky Hurst, who will compete in the swim leg.

A junior triathlon, for children under the age of 15, will be held on Sunday.

In a move from traditional children's triathlons, the youngsters won't compete in age groups but will race a choice of three distances, depending on their ability and experience.

Later on Sunday afternoon, nearly 300 swimmers will hit the water for the magnificent Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim.

About 10 Olympians including O'Neill and Hurst, will be competing in the 2km swim.

The swim is the only sporting event permitted on Whitehaven Beach. There will also be a 750-metre swim, as well as a 350-metre swim for children under 13.

However, the weekend of sport is not all for serious athletes.

The Dent Dash on Sunday morning is a non-competitive social event, where participants can either run or walk 18 holes of the spectacular Hamilton Island Golf Course, which is approximately 8.6km.

If that's too energetic, they can choose between the front nine holes (4.2km) or the back nine (4.6km).

For more information on the events go to www.hamiltonisland.com.au.


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