Improved racing for all at Challenge Cairns

USM Events, the event organizer for Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns and 2.80.20 Cairns have new and improved courses for the triathlon events to be held on Sunday 3 June 2012. Competitors in both the 2.80.20 Cairns (2K swim, 80K cycle, 20K run) and Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns (3.8K swim, 180K cycle, 42.1K run) will effectively utilize the same course in 2012.

Ports North Swim Course off Sailfish Quay
USM Events CEO, Geoff Meyer said the alterations to last years’ race have been a result of stream-lining operations in order to improve race logistics for competitors and spectators alike, thus enhancing the race experience on and off the course.

“The biggest difference this year is the relocation of the swim to the inner city waters off Sailfish Quay, in downtown Cairns. It will be a deep water start off a purpose built pontoon,” Meyer said.

“New event sponsor, Ports North, have been the driving force in bringing the downtown swim course to fruition. The new Ports North swim course will showcase one of Cairns most stunning attributes – its Esplanade Foreshore surrounded by the coastal landscape,” he added.

The event, supported by the Queensland Government through Events Queensland, generated a significant economic and tourism boost for the Cairns region in its inaugural year.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh welcomed the initiative to build on the success of the event for next year. “The Cairns Airport Adventure Festival will be bigger and better in 2012 – which is great news for the Cairns region,” Bligh noted.

“The inaugural Cairns Airport Adventure Festival this year delivered an economic boost of A$7.5 million – more than double the original estimate of A$3 million. And with more than 540 participants already entered into the new Cairns 2.80.20 course we can expect more visitors from interstate and overseas to the region – which is great for the tourism industry, local businesses and jobs,” she added.

“Hosting major events like the Challenge Cairns Adventure Festival is part of our plan to continue building Queensland’s bright future. That is why the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, has invested a record A$174 million in events over four years.”

The other additions for 2012 are the new transition areas for swim to bike (T1) – located in the Lagoon Car park and the cycle to run (T2) transition area at the Marlin Coast Recreational Centre just off the Captain Cook Highway; these are easily accessible for spectators to drive and park.

The bike leg for Challenge Cairns competitors will start in the Lagoon Car Park. It will journey north out of town and follow the route made famous in 2011 along the Captain Cook Highway that travels up one of the most scenic coastal roads in Australia up to Port Douglas.

The first part of the 42.2K run will bring competitors back from Smithfield via Yorkeys Knob then onto the Captain Cook Highway into Cairns where they will then complete two 8K laps of the Esplanade and Marina boardwalk before they finally reach the red carpeted finish line adjacent to the Cairns Lagoon.

The bike leg for the shorter 2.80.20 event sees competitors commence in Cairns and travel along a similar course to the Challenge Cairns event. The turnaround point for them will be just north of Rex Lookout and back to T2. The run leg for 2.80.20 Cairns will be the same as the first part of the Challenge Cairns route.

The event, supported by the Queensland Government through Events Queensland, includes other key stakeholders that have invested significant resources to the project. These include: Tourism Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Cairns Regional Council to ensure the success of this world class event.

The adjustments to the courses this year will make it easily accessible for spectators, friends and family to follow the race. “The benefit of this course is that spectators can be involved in the action and excitement of race day and be up close as the athletes exit the swim and head into T1,” said General Manager David Ray.

“People then have the option to drive out to the next transition approximately 25K at Smithfield to again watch them at T2 and then make their way back into town for the all important finish,” he added.

Alternatively, spectators can take the special race day Quicksilver Boat transfers between Cairns and Port Douglas to ‘Chase the Race’. These transfers will also assist in transporting locals affected by road closures.

Another feature this year will be the interactive spectator hot spots with big screens, music, race commentary and the famed ‘beer mile’ along the Cairns Esplanade.

Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns
Swim: 2 lap, Sailfish Quay
Cycle: 2 laps, Start Lagoon Car park
Northern turn around point – Port Douglas
Southern turn around just south of Wangetti
Finish – Marlin Coast Recreational Centre, Smithfield
Run: Marlin Coast Recreational Centre, Smithfield to Cairns Esplanade

2.80.20 Cairns
Swim: 1 lap, Sailfish Quay
Cycle: 1 lap
Start Lagoon Car park
Turn around – Northern side of Rex Lookout
Finish – Marlin Coast Recreational Centre, Smithfield
Run: Marlin Coast Recreational Centre, Smithfield to Cairns Esplanade

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