TRIATHLON: Can you conquer the beast?
That is the challenge that has been issued to the country's elite athletes with the introduction of the Kraken 102 to the 2018 Yeppoon Triathlon Festival.
Organisers have brought in a gruelling long-course event - double that of last year's Olympic distance - which consists of a 2km sea swim, an 80km cycle and a 20km run.
They expect it will draw a host of new competitors to the July 28-29 event because it will be one of only three races over that distance staged in Queensland.
Race organisers Glenn Skinner and Rob Dendle announced the exciting changes to the festival at the official launch at DC Motors yesterday.
All levels of competitor have been catered for, with the sprint distance (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) and enticer distance (300m swim, 10km cycle, 2.5km run) triathlons also on the program.
The festival will kick off with Super Saturday, which will feature junior coaching clinics and races designed to encourage fun and participation, with the timed events on the Sunday.
The festival has enjoyed a remarkable resurrection, given Skinner and Dendle announced its cancellation in October last year because of the overwhelming man hours involved in staging it and the ongoing battle to secure sponsorship.
But the business and sporting community rallied, determined to ensure the valuable event would not be lost.
Skinner said it was only because of the support from the community and the pre-existing and new sponsors that this year's festival was going ahead.
"Without it, we wouldn't be having this discussion,” he said.
"It's been a real eye-opener and it's really satisfying to know that people really value the race and see the economic benefit to Yeppoon and the wider region.
"We had 420 competitors last year and I would expect a 25 per cent increase on those numbers this year.
"On the back of that, I'm expecting the 2018 festival to inject $750,000 into the local economy.”
Skinner expects much of the registration increase to come on the back of the long-distance event.
"I think a lot more people will travel because we're offering the longer race, so numbers from outside the region should increase significantly,” he said.
"The Kraken 102 can be done by teams as well and I think we will get a lot of teams for it because a lot of people would see each leg as a challenge in itself.”
Skinner said the festival was designed to challenge, entertain and excite.
"With the events we've added for the kids on Saturday, the new Kraken 102 and the music, food and fun, we're finally bringing to life the big event that's been an idea in my head for years,” he said.
Registrations are open for the festival, with early bird discounts on offer.
For information, go to www.yeppoontriathlon festival.com.au or visit the Facebook page.