RACING AHEAD: Rodney Jones from Cunnamulla at Battle on the Balonne in 2018.
RACING AHEAD: Rodney Jones from Cunnamulla at Battle on the Balonne in 2018.

Battle on the Balonne hoping to be bigger than ever before

Triathlon :With the Balonne River nearly at full capacity and spirits on the rise, keen triathletes are eagerly awaiting one of the biggest events of the year in St George.

Battle on the Balonne joint race co-ordinator and secretary of Tri St George Susie Bardsley said they are now “rubbing their hands together” that the much needed rain has provided security for the event to go ahead.

“Because the swim is held in the river, we started to get a bit worried as to where we would hold it,” Bardsley said.

“We never would have cancelled it regardless of the river levels, it’s too valuable an event for the town. We would have just worked out an option B or C.”

With the introduction of the enticer distance for the first time this year, alongside the Olympic and sprint distance, there is really something for everyone.

Bardsley said they took the feedback on board from last year and created an option for competitors wanting to dip their toe in the water, so to speak.

“We had a lot of people last year who said they wanted to have a go but thought the distance was just a little too hard,” she said.

“That swim will be held in the pool as we we’re mindful that people don’t want to put their head in the river if they’re not confident swimmers.”

With over 170 competitors travelling from all over Queensland to attend last year, she said they are hoping for an even better turnout this year.

“We received lots of feedback last year that the competitors loved it and it was really well run,” Bardsley said.

“When you come to these rural towns for events like this, they’re back to grassroots.

“We have attracted a couple of professional triathletes over the last year who have said it’s different and it’s not like going to the big major events.

“They liked the hospitality and going downtown and eating out in our little cafes and talking to the locals.”

Bardsley is also hoping that with the introduction of the enticer, businesses and sporting clubs in town will jump on board to get involved in some friendly competition to take out the business house shield.

“We can bring people to town to lift morale and get people to spend and bring money into the town but we still need the locals to get behind us,” she said.

“We’ve been really plugging it this year, saying that we’re in drought, come and help us and people are listening.

“The president of Triathlon Australia is coming to support our event. We invited her out and she was quick to say she wanted to support these grassroots events run by small clubs.”

With plenty of prizemoney up for grabs, there’s no better time to get on board.

– Battle on the Balonne will be held March 28-29 and a link to register is on the Facebook page.

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