Ironman 70.3 Auckland
It’s not as though you ever really need an excuse to go to New Zealand, but if you’re looking for one and you want to lock up an early spot for the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, you might want to make the trip to Auckland in January.
The brand new event will be organized by the same group that puts on Ironman New Zealand, the oldest Ironman qualifying event and considered one of the best organized triathlon events in the world.
The same Kiwi “can-do” attitude (race director Jane Patterson’s favourite way to describe the work and support of her impressive staff and volunteers) is likely to pervade the new event, which will be held in the country’s largest city. Auckland was actually the first international race venue chosen by Ironman to serve as a qualifier in the mid-80s ( a year before Ironman Canada), Ironman New Zealand was staged in Auckland for 14 years before it moved to it’s current site in Taupo.
“It’s fitting to bring a major championship to New Zealand and to the magnificent city of Auckland,” says Ironman CEO, Andrew Messick. “Over the years, New Zealand has embraced the sport of triathlon with an unmatched enthusiasm while producing incredible talent.”
The early race favourite will be Auckland’s own Cameron Brown, a 10-time winner of Ironman New Zealand, who can’t wait to have a major event in his home city.
“Much of my passion for the sport came from those days as a kid watching Ironman from along the Auckland waterfront,” says Brown. “I am a proud Aucklander and this is a chance to show our city off to the world.”
Brown and the rest of his countrymen have a lot to be proud of. The country features everything from spectacular fjords to the mountainous landscape that’s been showcased in the Lord of the Rings movies. A trip to the race would be best accompanied by at least a week of touring the spectacular countryside, including a flight down to the country’s south island. If you can fit it in, a four hour drive to beautiful Taupo, the site of the Ironman race in March, gets you close to some spectacular sites like Huka Falls (I dare you do take the Jet Boat ride) and Mount Tongariro. Suffice it to say that even if you give yourself a week after the race to tour the country, you’ll come back wishing you’d stayed much longer.
If you can’t afford much extra time, there’s still lots to explore around Auckland. The city is also hosting the ITU Grand Final at the end of this year, so they’ll be primed for keeping triathletes entertained. There’s lots to do while you’re in the city including: scenic trips to the nearby Great Barrier, Tiritiri Matangi or Waiheke Islands, a visit to the waterfalss in the Waitakere Ranges, bunge jumping, climbing up the nearby Mangere mountain, whale and dolphin safaris, numerous museums, or a jaunt up to the top of the Sky Tower to get a birds-eye view of the city.
The inaugural race takes place on Sunday, January 20th, 2013 and will showcase many of Auckland’s iconic landscapes. The day begins with a swim in the Viaduct Harbour, the bike course winds itself across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the day finishes with a run along the beautiful Auckland waterfront. As the Asia Pacific Championship, the race offers 45 qualifying slots for the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada.
Visit www.ironmanauckland.com to register and learn more.