Australia’s top triathletes are preparing to return to the Noosa Triathlon this weekend, with a star-studded field to line up for the iconic event on Sunday 31 October.
After a hiatus in 2020 the Noosa Triathlon returns for its 38th running this week, with more than 40 of the country’s leading athletes to take to the start line on Noosa Main Beach.
Ashleigh Gentle knows what it takes to come out on top in Noosa, having won the event a record seven times, and this year will headline a 14-strong women’s elite field.
The 30-year-old is preparing for her first hit-out since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July.
“My preparation’s been going well, but to be honest it was a bit of a slow start after my two weeks in quarantine in the Northern Territory,” said Gentle. “I was in Tokyo and then once we got on the flight, got to the Northern Territory and then got home it was two and a half weeks of not being able to do anything. It took me a while to get back on my feet after that because I didn’t really want to have a break because I always knew I was doing Noosa, it was just about trying to be patient and enjoy a bit of a rest. Since then I’ve been able to build back up to some good training and it’s really fun preparing.”
Like so many other triathletes the Noosa Triathlon is an annual pilgrimage for Gentle, and a highlight on the calendar.
“Each Noosa to me has been unique, I’ve come off different types of years, they may have been hugely successful or a bit in the middle or not so great or I could have travelled heaps or hardly at all like this year, every Noosa has a unique story to it for me, but I feel like that familiarity of Noosa Tri is something that is always nice,” said Gentle. “I love it so much and it always helps me find motivation no matter how my year has gone beforehand, so I really like that about it.
“It’s really easy to be motivated for Noosa to be honest, because you kind of just remember the good times and everything that Noosa stands for,” she said. “Winning in Noosa is great and I’ve absolutely loved how successful I’ve been but I just love how the community comes together there and there’s a Noosa Tri family there every year and it’s really great to be able to be a part of it and be racing, obviously in the Elite race but also with thousands of other athletes which is something I don’t do very often being on the World Series circuit so looking forward to that and the triathlon community is great.”
Joining Gentle on the start line next Sunday will be Lotte Wilms, an Australian based Dutch athlete who won IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast last month, an impressive result on her IRONMAN 70.3 debut.
Also set to race in Noosa is Kirra Seidel who finished second at this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast.
Athletes will race across a 1.5km swim, 40km ride and 10km run, joining around 6,000 other triathletes out on course.
In 2021 the Noosa Triathlon men’s race will have a first-time winner, with none of the 28 male elite athletes having stood on the top step of the podium at the event.
Brisbane’s Ryan Fisher is looking forward to heading north to Noosa, after injury and travel restrictions kept him close to home this year.
“I’ve had a bit of slow season, I had an injury just before I was meant to go overseas a while back so it was a little bit hard for a while there finding motivation and getting back with limited racing,” said Fisher. “Once we got through the later stages of the year and with Noosa going ahead it made it a lot easier to get out the door. I was meant to head away but about two weeks before I was due to fly I found out I had a stress fracture so that pretty much derailed the rest of the season for me. It made it a little easier in some ways not having many racing options because there was no rush or external pressure to get back for anything. In that way it was nice but at the same time it’s made for a long year.
“It’s one of those races, and I may be biased being from Queensland, it’s probably the biggest and most enjoyable race that we have in Australia, I think that is pretty widely agreed upon, and I think with it being at the end of the year people are going onto a break after which gives it that extra bit of enjoyment,” he said.
Fisher has finished on the podium at Noosa Triathlon three times and knows that everyone in the field is a threat on race day.
“It’s one of those races where you can’t write off anybody anyway, the amount of times you hear of people talking about different athletes and who’s more likely to do well there’s always someone who comes up out of the blue, so in that regard you can never write off anybody,” said Fisher. “I’ve had some pretty big ebbs and flows at Noosa over the years, I’ve finished second there twice and third once and then the last two years I’ve been fourth and fifth, I’m pretty confident that I’m in good shape at the moment and it will be nice to get back on it.”
Fisher will be joined at the event by athletes who have excelled at all distances of the sport, both at home and abroad.
Max Neumann was second at the event in 2018, and since then has successfully made the transition to IRONMAN events, having won the last two Cairns Airport Asia Pacific Championship IRONMAN Cairns races.
This year’s Noosa Triathlon will also feature a number of other IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 champions, with Josh Amberger, Tim Van Berkel, Nicholas Free and Steve McKenna all racing.
Noosa Triathlon is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
For more information on the Noosa Triathlon visit https://noosatri.com.au/
Noosa Triathlon Elite Women
1. Ashleigh Gentle
2. Milan Agnew
4. Maighan Brown
5. Brittany Dutton
6. Jessica Ewart-McTigue
7. Georgie Fredricks
8. Ellie Hoitink
9. Lauren Kerwick
10. Sophie Malowiecki
11. Brooke McCullough
12. Kelsey Mitchell
14. Kirra Seidel
15. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan
16. Lotte Wilms
Noosa Triathlon Elite Men
32. Max Neumann
33. Ryan Fisher
34. Matthew Roberts
35. Josh Amberger
36. Simon Hearn
37. Leigh Anderson-Voigt
38. Joe Begbie
39. Sam Betten
40. Taylor Charlton
41. Travis Coleman
42. Yoann Colin
43. Josh Ferris
44. Nicholas Free
45. Lachlan Jones
46. Liam McCoach
47. Kurt McDonald
48. Steve McKenna
49. Caleb Noble
50. Charlie Quinn
51. Lorcan Redmond
52. Jack Sosinski
53. Jye Spriggs
54. Kieran Storch
55. Tim Van Berkel
56. Edward Vining
57. Fraser Walsh
58. Troy Whittington
59. Luke Willian