Ironman shows why Coast does big sport best
Sunday mornings on the Sunshine Coast are made for sleep ins, good coffee and, for the rare breed of super fit athlete, a leisurely 113km of swimming, cycling and running.
A dismal morning may have kept the masses away from Mooloolaba beach but the day was brightened by a woman in rainbow active wear and the country's best athletes at the Ironman 70.3.
Early on, every man and his dog were rugged up in preparation for a wet morning at the much anticipated Coast event, but thankfully the clouds disappeared quicker than the big breakfasts being devoured at nearby Mooloolaba Esplanade cafes.
On the course, Rio Olympian Aaron Royle seemed to hardly break a sweat during his 3 hour, 45 minute and 14 second win in the men's category.
Meanwhile New Zealand's Amelia Watkinson was all smiles after her victory in the women's division in a time of 4:10:13.
Speaking of Olympians, 1980 Moscow Olympic boxer and long-time Coast personality Benny Pike joked that he was on hand just in case he needed to take one of the athlete's places.
Although getting in to the lycra suit may have proved a tight squeeze.
"When I was first asked to do the Noosa Tri back in '83, I had to look up what a triathlon was," he said.
But it was in the crowd where the real action was, and the punters wasted no opportunities to take some happy snaps of the day.
The race had all the bells and whistles and crowds were just happy to see some live sporting action after COVID restrictions put a halt to Noosa's Triathlon Festival earlier in the month.
Event announcers wasted no opportunity to remind spectators to adhere to 1.5m social distancing regulations.
If the crowd wasn't sure of the specific distance, an Ironman staff member had the extremely vital role of walking around with a 1.5m pole to remind them.
He really did.
You'd think the fastest runners on the day were out on the course, but in fact it was a group of women dressed as cupcakes who showed their speed after being hunted down by athletes desperate to replace much needed carbs after their race.
Once again, the event proved why the Sunshine Coast is the leader in hosting large sporting events.