The finishing touches are being put on the return of Australia’s oldest triathlon, which will be run and won this Sunday at Sydney International Regatta Centre.
After it was sadly cancelled for the first time in its history last year due to the pandemic, the Nepean Triathlon will make its triumphant return this weekend with the main race set down for Sunday morning.
Making this year’s event more special is the fact the iconic local race will be celebrating its 40th running.
Speaking with the Weekender on Tuesday, Race Director Chris Joseph said while numbers are down on previous years, he’s just pleased the race will be getting off the ground at all.
“650 athletes will compete in the main race on Sunday which is – in any other year – a really disappointing figure. We’re normally aiming for 1000, but ultimately, we’re just happy to be back,” he said.
“We’re currently on the final stretch in terms of preparations, everything is starting to come together, which is nice. We’ve appreciated people’s patience, we’ve been a bit slow in getting a few things finalised, but that’s just been the nature of this year.”
With organisers unable to offer a prize purse this year due to financial constraints, it’s meant several top triathletes won’t be competing in the 40th running on Sunday, including six-time champion Aaron Royle.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to offer a prize purse for professionals, so we’ve got a smaller pro field this year,” Joseph said.
“We received a really nice message from Aaron, he’s currently over in North America focusing on some long-distance racing at the moment. He sent us a personal message apologising that he wouldn’t be here and wishing us all the best.
“Aaron’s the ultimate professional and it’s so good he’s got the record now for most Nepean Triathlon wins because I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving than him.”
This year’s Nepean Triathlon course has undergone a few changes to the bike and run legs due to recent flood damage at the Regatta Centre.
All competitors racing will also receive a finishing medal as well as a 40th year branded hat and bag to commemorate Nepean Triathlon’s special milestone.
Joseph said he’s extremely grateful for the many sponsors who came on board to support the event after its absence last year due to COVID-19.
“We wouldn’t have been able to open the event if we didn’t get the confidence that we did from two substantial grants in IGA and Panthers Penrith – without these two grants, the race wouldn’t be going ahead on Sunday,” he said.
“We also have Destination NSW on board and we extend our thanks to local member Stuart Ayres for going to bat for us there. Also a big thanks to Penrith Council and Mayor Tricia Hitchen for their ongoing support as well.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.