FOR 60 years the Surf Coast Times Jim Wall Iron Race has attracted competitors from all over the nation in a bid to be the fittest, fastest and toughest to take to the sand.
This Saturday athletes will battle it out in hopes of having their name etched on the trophy of the world’s longest running iron event.
Beginning in 1962, the race is a pioneer of endurance surf sports and a staple of the Torquay community.
Named after early club President Jim Wall, the event was devised to challenge all round water ability, speed and endurance.
Terry Wall, two-time champion and son of the former president said the event started small before it went national.
“It was essentially a club event for a time and eventually it got other clubs in Victoria to participate and then throughout Australia over the years,” he said.
To this day the event stands as the ultimate test of endurance, skill and devotion, judged by the contender’s performance across four events – board, ski, swim and run.
The origins of the Surf Coast Times Jim Wall Iron Race play a large role in Torquay’s history and this year the chances of a local victory are better than ever.
Usually bringing in the best of Australia’s interstate competitors, the event will be subjected to travel restrictions and border closures.
Competition director Peter Quinlan said despite restrictions the event will be the perfect start to the season.
“With local favourite Grace Harris home from her new Queensland training base, and previous winner Matt Gilling also a contender, we’d be happy to have a Victorian monopoly in the 60th year,” he said.
Marketing director Sarah O’Dwyer said up to 140 competitors were forecast to hit the sand this weekend.
With most surf sport events postponed to early February, the Jim Wall Iron Race will mark the opening of the competition season for Victorian athletes.
Ms O’Dywer said the competition is expected to be better than ever as training for the individual sport was not impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
“People will be in their fittest form, so we are expecting really good racing,” she said.
This year the event will look slightly different with designated areas for spectators and competitors.
“We will have QR codes for people to scan and we will be implementing social distancing as part of the COVIDSafe guidelines,” she said.
The Jim Wall event card includes 13 speciality races beginning at 1pm with Under 13 Nippers and culminating with the ultimate male and female Iron events.
For more information about Jim Wall 2021, head to www.torquayslsc.com.au or call 5261