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Coolangatta Gold

Coolangatta Gold

There is no greater challenge on the Gold Coast than the Coolangatta Gold!

What was meant to be a one-off event as a means to get footage for a local film, the ironman event has become one of the Gold Coast’s biggest endurance races.

From Coolangatta Beach, all the way up to Burleigh and back again, spectators cheer and support the Ironmen and Ironwomen that tackle this gruelling run, surfski, board, wade and swim every year.

Whether you’re slugging it out in the race or watching on from the side, it’s a memorable challenge that will leave you inspired.

Coolangatta Gold – 10 & 11 October 2015

This year there will be a short course and a long course for you to attempts. Sign up for one or go right ahead and tackle them both if you’re feeling adventurous.

On Saturday the short course starts in Coolangatta, paddles up to Miami and runs back again. While the track is only 32.4km, it still manages to include a surf ski from Coolangatta to Miami, a run, swim, board and another run before you get to cross the finish line.

The longer course (and main event) takes contestants from Coolangatta to Burleigh and back again, including a 23km surfski, 6km of boarding, a 3.5km swim and a total of 8.9km by foot.

Competitors can race individually or in teams with 6th of October as the cut off for late entries. There are a range of categories including elite male and female, under 19 age groups, over 50s for male and female, and every decade in between.

Each category has prizes based on you time / place, with the elite category winners taking home $25,000 each.

This is one of the most physically challenging endurance races of its kind in the world and is not for the faint hearted. If you’re in good shape and are training hard it’s a rewarding experience just to know you finished the iconic Coolangatta Gold.

Location:            Coolangatta Beach
Time & Date:      Short Course – 6:30am Saturday, 10 October 2015
                              Long Course – 6:30am Sunday, 11 October 2015
Website:             sls.com.au/coolangattagold

Getting there

Whether you’ve come to the Gold Coast to compete in the Coolangatta Gold, support someone who is, or you’re there to watch all the glory of the event, you’ll be able to find plenty of accommodation in Rainbow Bay, Kirra, Tugun, Currumbin, and other areas throughout Southern Gold Coast.

By staying down in the southern end of the Gold Coast you’ll get to enjoy easy access to the race day events, as well as the beautiful Gold Coast beaches and Hinterland, without being caught up in all the hustle and bustle of the main business strip.

If you’re competing though, you’d best book in early to get accommodation in Coolangatta. There are plenty of holiday apartments, hotels, B&Bs and even resorts in Coolangatta that can place you a short walk from the race starting line, or at the very worst, a short five minute drive.

As the race travels from Coolangatta Beach, up to Burleigh and back again, spectators find a spot anywhere along the coast to catch the event.

Coolangatta Gold History

The history of the Coolangatta Gold is rather unique in that the first event was held for a movie. In 1984 Peter Schrek was writing a movie about two brothers, one of them Ironman legend Grant Kenny, competing for their father’s attention.

Schrek wanted a dramatic climax for the movie and thought a run from Surfers Paradise, down the beach to Coolangatta and back again would make for a great ending. He ran up to someone on the beach, explained the course and asked if he would do it. Their response was “hell no!” He then asked if he’d do it for $20,000, to which he replied “hell yeah!”

Rather than stage all the film shots the producers decided to hold the Coolangatta Gold as an actual event. Several well-known ironmen competed in the event but in the end it was won by Guy Leech, a previously unknown 18 year old from Manly. The movie was originally released as The Coolangatta Gold and later changed to The Gold and the Glory.

When the event returned in conjunction with the movie premier in 1985 it was Leech that took out the victory yet again. He even won the next event in 1989 when it was run as the Gold Coast Gold. The race was held twice more in 1991 and 1992 before rising costs prevented it from being continued.  

Finally in 2005 the Coolangatta Gold was back, with new women’s and master’s events. As if playing out the original movie, Caine Eckstein overtook his brother Shannon Eckstein to win the event.

It has been successfully run every year since and seen some incredible times and winning streaks from known ironmen and newcomers alike, proving that the endurance event can be won by whoever has the determination to slug it out.