The future of Australia’s oldest triathlon has been secured long-term after Mark “Emo” Emerton and his team at Elite Energy were handed the keys to the Nepean Triathlon this week.
Following a series of challenges, including lack of funding, sponsorship and issues with the Sydney International Regatta Centre course, the future of the Nepean Triathlon, which has been running continuously in Penrith since 1981, was in huge doubt.
Rather than the volunteer-led event be cancelled altogether, an honest conversation was had between Race Director Chris Joseph and Emerton, CEO and owner of Elite Energy, about keeping one of Penrith’s most popular sporting events alive.
“Each year Joey and I talk to each other, I ask him how the race is going etc… and he said he wasn’t getting the numbers that he wanted, and he was questioning whether to run it or not this year,” Emerton told the Weekender.
“Him and I had a chat and came to the agreement to keep it going and here we are.”
On October 1, Emerton and Elite Energy took over the Nepean Triathlon and will now hold it on April 6 and 7 next year, instead of the previously scheduled date of October 28 and 29 this year.
The new date allows Emerton and his team, which run 90 per cent of the triathlons in NSW, to get their hands on the event properly and build it back up to being one of the premier races in the state.
“I decided to take it on probably because I’m an old passionate sucker,” Emerton laughed.
“I did the 1984 Nepean Triathlon and I’ve done 10-15 of them since then.
“Being the oldest race in Australia and the next oldest race is the Noosa Triathlon, it’s a bit like State of Origin – I didn’t want those Queenslanders to start saying they have the oldest race in Australia.”
Emerton said the main Nepean Triathlon race on the Sunday will largely remain unchanged, however he will be introducing a couple of new events to the weekend to attract more participants.
“Elite Energy was also given the Australian Super Sprint Championships for next year and we’re going to take it to Nepean and it will be held on the Saturday. That should bring other people from interstate who wouldn’t normally come to Nepean and race,” he said.
“Then on the Sunday, we’ll have two main races – the Nepean Triathlon, which is the premier race, and the Nepean Classic, which is a 2km swim, 60km ride and 15km run. It will be close to a half Ironman.”
Elite Energy is currently in the process of updating the Nepean Triathlon website, with entries to next year’s event expected to be open in due course.
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.