A major Ironman event with an almost $100,000 prize pool will be hosted in Auckland next year and will showcase the best the city has to offer. Ironman 70.3 will be held in January and will be the official Asia Pacific Championships and provide athletes with an additional opportunity to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Las Vegas. The event, which will take in iconic Auckland landscapes with a swim in the Viaduct Harbour, a bike course that includes the Harbour Bridge and a run along the waterfront, is expected to attract 1200 athletes. Over $94,000 in prizes are up for grabs. "New Zealand and Auckland hold a special place in the history of Ironman and the sport of triathlon," Andrew Messick, CEO of World Triathlon Corporation 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." Auckland was the first international race venue chosen when the Ironman brand began its global growth in the mid-80's. Ironman New Zealand was staged here for 14 years, based at Mission Bay and then St Heliers, before moving to Taupo in 1999. Today there are more than 30 Ironman and 60 Ironman 70.3 races worldwide.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) believes the event will boost city coffers and its' January 20 timing during Auckland's New Year programme was "well placed". "It's been nearly 30 years since Auckland hosted the inaugural Ironman event and we are delighted to be back on the international calendar, providing exclusive access to a world-class course," ATEED's Acting General Manager Destination, Jennah Wootten said. Ironman legend Cameron Brown believes the new event will be a major boost for the sport and the city. "Much of my passion for the sport came from those days as a kid watching Ironman from along the Auckland waterfront," Brown, 10-time Ironman New Zealand Champion 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 event will be based at the Viaduct Events Centre. 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. The finish line will be in the heart of Wynyard Quarter with the stunning city skyline as a backdrop.