Goondiwindi promises to bring hell for athletes, again

Ok, it’s back and it’s as hot as, well, always.

Hell. It's on for young and old.

Hell. It's on for young and old.

Athletes from across the nation are gearing up for the annual E&E Waste Hell of the West Triathlon.

Renowned as one of the toughest courses around, it’s on Sunday, February 4, 2018. 

“Triathletes love it, they love the challenge, they love the welcome from the community and they just keep coming back for more. It’s a real test and a red-letter day in the triathlete calendar,” Media, Marketing & Sponsorship Co-ordiantor, Kirsty Dowling said on Monday.

The success of the Hell of the West can be put down to that, and more: a hard-working committee and wonderful community support which has spilled over into, over the past decade, participation.

More and more locals take on the challenge each year, either in teams or as individuals,” Kirsty said.

But there is even a bigger incentive for athletes to “dip their toes” in 2018 even if they are a novice triathlete.

It’s Super Saturday, perhaps, not so-enticingly called the “Inferno”:  5km Charity Run –  A distance for all ages, shapes and sizes. “Running a 5km run is the perfect goal for those looking to enter their first race,” Kirsty said; 10km Charity Run – An achievable challenging distance for a beginner looking to move up from 5k’s and park-runs. 10k run is also a great distance for more experienced runners and is often used as a way of increasing endurance for longer distances.

All money raised goes to Care Goondiwindi and the PCYC.

There’s also the “Firestater Triathlon”. This event is 12 and overs who are keen to give triathlon a go.

“It lets people race in a supportive atmosphere amongst like-minded people,” Kirsty said.

“You can become part of the thrill and excitement of triathlon whilst gaining the absolute joy that comes with accomplishing a personal goal.”

And of course there’s also the usual Hellkids triathlon: Open to children aged from 7-11 yrs. This mini triathlon comprises of a swim, cycle and run to suit all children.

If you want to enter go to the Hell of the West website or contact HOTW race administrator Liesl Richards 0427585348.he Hell of the West is now in its 27th year.

It will act as a Triathlon Australia World Qualifying Race and double as Triathlon Queensland’s Race 12 of the Nissan State series and the Queensland Long Course Championship.

“This shows how highly this event is regarded amongst the triathlon community,” Kirsty said.

The E&E Waste Hell of the West (HOTW) triathlon entices some of Australia’s top triathletes to  Goondiwindi in the height of summer every year. And when you read the names of past winners on the rusty steel champions board hanging in the Town Park you realise that some of the best triathletes in the world have tackled this great race.

On the men’s side you have names like Mackenzie, Jacobs, and Reed and the women’s Bentley, Major and of course four x winner Sarah Crowley. These fine athletes race side by side with the everyday weekend warrior in the quest to produce their best over the infamous course.

The unique race course comprises of a 2km swim in the murky Macintyre River, an 80km cycle on the dead-flat Barwon Highway then finish it all off with a 20km hot as hell run along the banks of Macintyre River.

The question is – who would put themselves through this? According to HOTW President, Tim Richards, “plenty would."

“Year in and year out we are amazed and proud to say that athletes keep coming back to HOTW to do it all over again,” Tim said.

“Town accommodation is well and truly booked out months ahead as more and more athletes decide to brave the tough course, and this year is no exception.

Seen as a “rite of passage” for some, and a good warm-up to bigger Ironman events for others, the HOTW is everything the dedicated committee say it is.

“It is tough, I know from experience after competing as an individual for the last five years. People think you are crazy (including my family), but at the end of the day it all comes down to training and mindset,” Tim said.

“And why not? I get to train with all the Goondiwindi Tri Club crew which is a heap of fun and then compete in our home town race, surrounded by a community that will happily scream their hearts out, even for strangers.

“Well I’m in, and I couldn’t think of anything better.

"HOTW have a fabulous team of volunteers (topping 350 in 2017) who man the aid stations, help with set up and pack up, cook, direct, cheer on athletes. In addition, they also have a committed crew in the medical tent ready for anything just to help you get over that finish line.

“The best thing about the race, though, is the atmosphere. People always comment, year after year, on how friendly people are, how encouraging they are, how helpful the volunteers are and how well-run the event is,” Tim said. 

And with that’s there’s only thig left to say, “Bring it on!”.