THIS year’s IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong has been given the green light, with organisers confirming their COVIDSafe event plan had been approved.
The IRONMAN Group Oceania has worked closely with stakeholders, including several Victorian government departments, the City of Greater Geelong, Triathlon Australia and Triathlon Victoria, on the plan for the February 21 event.
The plan has been developed to manage the risks associated with the transmission of the virus, and provide an opportunity for participants to take part in the popular event.
It includes The IRONMAN Group’s COVIDSafe Principles, which focus on tracing, education, enhanced hygiene, density reduction, touchpoint minimisation, athlete self-reliance and screening.
“In developing the COVIDSafe Event Plan for IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong we looked at all elements of the event, ensuring that we can deliver a great event for all participants while also looking after the health of the community,” IRONMAN Group Oceania senior vice president and managing director Dave Beeche said.
“I’d like to thank all of the groups that our team worked with during this process, their support has allowed us to get to the position we’re in today.
“Our team successfully staged IRONMAN events on the Sunshine Coast and in Cairns late last year with approved COVIDSafe Event Plans and we’ve put the learnings from both those events into developing the IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong plan.
“IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong traditionally begins the year for our athletes and we’re thrilled that we’re going to be able to welcome them back to Geelong on February 21.
“Over the years this event has become a firm favourite with athletes, and won world’s best in 2018, and we can’t wait to see athletes on the start line again.”
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said the return of IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong to the Geelong waterfront was exciting news.
“We are so happy to be welcoming IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong back to the Geelong waterfront – the ideal destination for world-class major events,” Cr Asher said.
“The challenges of COVID-19 meant our events calendar was all but wiped clean in 2020, but there are opportunities now to safely and responsibly welcome more major events back to our region.”
Changes to the event for competitors include 1.5 metre marked spacings wherever queuing occurs, contactless check-in and the elimination of non-essential processes.
Athletes will also take part in a pre-event screening with medical staff.
The event will feature a new swim start, with four athletes starting every five seconds, allowing for four square metres per person. Changes implemented for the bike leg include the locating of aid stations in low density areas, with athletes encouraged to be more self-reliant on course, carrying their own hydration and nutrition during competition.
There will be no spectator areas on the course, with people encouraged to follow the racing through the IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong event app.
At the event finish line, athletes will now receive their medals and towels as a bundle, which is collected from a table rather than being presented, allowing for contactless celebrations.