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Hometown champion returns, international icons arrive for Challenge Melbourne

Posted on: Thursday 28th January 2016

Scody CHALLENGEMELBOURNE has yet again, drawn out one of the strongest and most talented fields of the season in the Asia Pacific region, to contest this year’s iconic Challenge Melbourne triathlon on Sunday 31 January 2016.

In an exclusive opportunity for athletes, this weekend marks the opportunity for all 32 age group category winners the chance to take up a starting spot in the revered DATEV CHALLENGEROTH event to be held in Germany on July 17 2016. Known to sell out in under a minute, these spots are incredibly rare and one of the greatest experiences a triathlete can have.

Returning for another shot at the $20,000 prize pool on offer this weekend Australian home-town hero and 2015 Challenge Melbourne winner, Leon Griffin, is just one of many high-calibre elites that will turn out for Sunday’s event.

Speaking exclusively to CHALLENGEFAMILY and CHALLENGEMELBOURNE organisers, Sports Media and Entertainment 360 ahead of the weekend’s race, Griffin could not contain his joy at competing in his hometown event. “I love to race at home in Victoria when I can as I don’t get much a chance these days. I want a well organised race and interesting course, and I know I’ll get that thanks to the organisers of Challenge Melbourne who do a first class job”, stated Griffin.

Fellow triathletes Annabel Luxford, Tim Van Berkel and Josh Rix are just a couple of fellow Australians who will be joining Griffin on the start line in what is shaping to be a fierce battle for the podium placings in the Elite category of both the male and female races.

Displaying the drawcard that Scody CHALLENGEMELBOURNE places with the Elite athlete field, the internationally-acclaimed duo of Per Bittner and Yvonne Van Vlerken make the trip from Germany, to test themselves in Australia’s only major inner-city triathlon. The women’s field is the best yet with Brisbane born, Melbourne based Annabel Luxford who won the inaugural race is back again to recapture the title and in good early season form. Carrie Lester who finished third at CHALLENGEROTH last year lines up for the first time in Melbourne. Also on the start line is Katy Duffield in her first year as a full time pro and making her first foray into the long distance racing scene Natalie Van Coevorden and veteran Lisa Marangon.

After experiencing somewhat treacherous conditions in the 2015 edition of CHALLENGEMELBOURNE, the current forecast looks to be somewhat friendlier than last year which had Griffin relatively optimistic about the weekend ahead.

“I don’t mind the extremes in weather that can be thrown up to the competitors on race morning’ mentioned Griffin. Touching on the ever-nervy subject of weather forecasts, Leon continued ‘obviously last year was cold, wet and challenging. Cast back a year before that, I believe the first year endured near 40C temperature, so I’m guessing the event is due some perfect weather this year.”

Regardless of the weather, it is guaranteed to be an exciting day’s race this coming Sunday with 22 of the best professionals touching down in Melbourne to battle at the first major race for 2016.

When quizzed on his form and changes to repeat last year’s winning feat, the home-town champion reflected, “The form is ok, I may be a fraction down on last year when I won the race. That’s due to taking a bit more extra time off this off season, and having a slower build into the year because I ran out of steam towards the latter part of 2015.’ Despite these reflections, optimism remained in his voice, ‘I’m physically and mentally refreshed and looking to find out where my form actually is so I know I’ll be ready to give it 100% on race day.”

With some exciting changes to this year’s course, athletes will be pushing themselves to the limits on a brand new run track. Participants will no longer go on the out and back towards bayside tri club or have to climb the Jetty Road Hill. Participants run through the beach path at Trey Bit oval, cross jetty road and continue along the shaded path and turn at Sandringham Life Saving club. Runners will head back towards the venue along the bike path that runs parallel with Beach Road. The new course will be much flatter which should see quicker run times for all competitors

CHALLENGEMELBOURNE includes a 1.9km swim in Port Phillip Bay, Brighton Beach, 90km three lap cycle leg following Beach Road past Sandringham and Black Rock before turning at Centre Way followed by a 21km three lap run that travels along the beach pathway to Sandringham and finishing at Brighton Beach.

In a new feature to the CHALLENGEMELBOURNE event, a Sprint Distance which has been introduced for the first time in 2016. Comprising of a 700m swim, 30km cycle and closing with one lap of the 7km run course, CHALLENGEMELBOURNE now caters for all experience levels of triathletes, truly encapsulating the CHALLENGEFAMILY message, ‘We Are Triathlon’.


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