Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns: our very own amazing race
SOME of the country's best athletes will showcase their skills and determination against the stunning backdrop of the tropical Far North tomorrow.
About 2200 competitors will contest the ironman events, the gruelling finale to the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival.
Thousands of people are expected to line the course between the city and Port Douglas to cheer the athletes.
Leading competitor Michelle Mitchell (pictured) lauded the Far North as world-class stage.
"I loved it," she said. "It’s one of the nicest cycle courses I’ve done."
ANYA Roneburg sat on the Kewarra Beach roundabout in awe for several hours this time last year as several hundred
cyclists zipped by.
She then dashed down to the finish line of the Challenge Cairns race at the Esplanade and stood until well after dark watching everyone from elite Chris McCormack to local friends finish the epic race.
Twelve months on and she admits standing on the sideline at last year’s race was the impetus which spurred her to take part this time.
"It was just amazing, the fitness of people and to see the normal people doing it too," she said. "I registered pretty much as soon as it opened and paid my money so there was no backing out.
"It probably wasn’t until November that I really decided, but it had been in the back of my mind since I saw it (the race).
"I’m so excited, there’s no nerves yet."
Tanya is one of many who have gone from the sideline to the startline after being inspired by last year’s race.
And with the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival already locked in for another year, it is certain to encourage more participation from those who started only as spectators.
Just a day out from the big race final preparations are in place, athletes and their families have packed out hotels around town and the weather forecast appears to be on the side of organisers.
Duty forecaster Bill O’Connor said there would be scattered showers around this morning, although these were expected to clear by tomorrow.
"Winds will also drop as we go through the weekend," he said.
"And if there are any showers by Sunday they will be a lot lighter than what we’ve been having. It should be about 27 degrees on Sunday with a minimum of about 18 or 19 so that’s a lot better than last year (for the race) when it was really warm."
The half ironman begins at 6.45am, followed by the main event at 7.05am. The first finisher in the ironman is expected to cross the line just before 3.30pm with athletes expected in throughout the evening until after midnight.
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Fit and ready: Ironman Cairns leading competitor Michelle Mitchell will compete in the event tomorrow.