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Margaret River uncorks Rottnest run

THE popular Rottnest Triathlon has outgrown its traditional home and for the first time in 16 years the event will be held in Margaret River, in the South West of WA.

The triathlon has been at Rottnest Island for the past 15 years, however, its growing popularity and Rottnest Island’s A-class nature reserve status has produced financial and logistical problems.

After considerable research and consultation Margaret River was chosen as the new location for the Sunsmart Margaret River Festival of Triathlon, to be held in May this year.

A boon for tourism in the South West, the triathlon will attract an estimated 3,000 people to Margaret Rover for the weekend

Triathlon WA president Chris Hewitt claims friends and competitors will spend about $200 each over the weekend, bringing in $600,000 to businesses in and around Margaret River.

Dennis Kenny, general manager of Augusta, Margaret River Tourist Association said the triathlon would be a great event for the communities in the entire region.

“I think it’s going to be extremely beneficial from cape to cape over the whole weekend and the local community gets a chance to see these great athletes close to home,” Mr Kenny said.

“The triathlon has been run at Rottnest for the past 15 years and developed a rich tradition. However, there are significant difficulties running an event of this size at Rottnest which is an A-class nature reserve,” Mr Hewitt said..

“If anything happens at Rottnest Island it hits the paper and the paper can have a go at the Rottnest Island Board or the Government about it, because they’ve got to protect what happens there.

“It’s an A-class reserve and we do have a big impact on the island.

“When we’re there we take up a big part of the road, our demands put us in conflict with the day-to-day users of the island.

Aspirations to further develop the triathlon into a community event that would rival events like the Avon Descent, the City to Surf and the Rottnest Channel Swim prompted Triathlon WA to consider a new location.

The Margaret River Festival of Triathlon will comprise three races incorporating four events — the Bootleg Brewery Sprint Triathlon, the Half Ironman Triathlon incorporating the Hotham Wines Team Triathlon and the Ironcubs Aquathon a swim-run event for children.

The race is part of a national qualifying series for the Australian Iron Man Race.

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