In 2019 the iconic Coolangatta Gold will be included as a full point scoring round of the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series, a deserved inclusion given the monumental task of not only finishing the event but racing at full pace for over four hours and 40 km’s.
The race’s history stretches right back to 1984 when Peter Schrek was writing a movie featuring Ironman legend Grant Kenny, about two elite Ironmen competing for their father’s love. The movie was called “The Coolangatta Gold”.
Schrek was sitting on a Gold Coast beach when he came up with the idea of racing all the way from Surfers Paradise to Coolangatta and back. A record $20,000 prizemoney was put up for the race and the rest was history. Manly lifesaver Guy Leech won the race and quickly became a household name across the country.
Apart from 1991/92 the race was not held again until 2005. This was the beginning of the Caine Eckstein reign as the King of the Gold. In that year Caine would famously run past his brother, the great Shannon Eckstein, in the final run leg to claim the first of his record five victories.
In 2006, Zane Holmes became the first Ironman in history to win an Iron Series title, the Australian title, a world championship and the Coolangatta Gold. This feat would be surpassed by Georgia Miller in 2018 who won all four titles in the same season.
The period 2012 to 2018 would be dominated by Ali Day in the men’s event, who went on to win the Coolangatta Gold an astonishing six out of seven years, with a record-breaking margin of 21 minutes in 2018.
In the women’s event, Courtney Hancock, Elizabeth Pluimers, Alicia Marriott and Hayley Bateup all equally hold the record for most wins with three victories apiece.
Surf Life Saving Australia is committed to growing the Coolangatta Gold, and its inclusion in this season’s Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series will ensure the most star-studded field in many years.
The Coolangatta Gold long course will be run from Coolangatta Beach on October 13.