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History of the WA State Long Source Championships
The WA State Long Course Triathlon Championship is in its 34th year and this year the event is, enjoying its 19th year in Busselton. The race began in very humble beginnings in Midland in 1983, before Triathlon WA even existed, with just 49 people completing the first race. It was held there for two years, consisting of a 2km swim, 54km cycle and 20km run.
In 1985 it went to Rottnest, with competitors racing the same distances as previously. In 1986 Triathlon WA was established as the state governing body for triathlon and in November the event continued at Rottnest, with the cycle distance increasing to 81km for the 83 competitors. In 1987 the event moved to May, experiencing horrendous conditions including gale force winds, hail, and pelting rain. Many competitors suffered from hypothermia or injuries from being blown off their bikes at speed.
In 1988 the event moved to Collie to avoid a repeat of the conditions at Rottnest in 1987. However, it returned to Rottnest in 1989, with the advent of the first short course support event to help offset some of the costs of the Long course event.
In 1997, the race moved from the Rottnest Pub to Kingstown Barracks and was also the Australian Long Course Championships that year. 2000 marked the last Rottnest Long Course Title, unbeknown to almost all who raced on that day. After much discussion, the event made the bold move to Margaret River for 2001, but it was soon apparent that the event had also outgrown that area in just one year.
In 2002, WA’s Half Ironman Triathlon found another new and exciting home in the beautiful South West town of Busselton, with a course featuring calm, crystal waters in the swim, flat, fast roads through varying scenery on the cycle and a flat run along the beautiful Busselton waterfront.
In 2010, the event became branded as an Ironman 70.3 triathlon and part of the world-wide qualification series of Ironman 70.3 events. Now in its 19th year in Busselton, the event continues to grow and is a weekend long festival of sport and community events, offering something for everyone.
Triathlon WA has been involved with the WA State Long Course Championships since its inception. As a non-profit organisation, management of the SunSmart Ironman 70.3 Busselton plays a vital role in allowing Triathlon WA to service over 3,000 members and 20 affiliated clubs and promote and grow the sport throughout WA.
From humble beginnings of less than 50 people the event has grown to a field of over 3,000 competitors, attracting elite and age group athletes from around the world. The success of the event is built off the incredible support from the WA Triathlon community, the City of Busselton and the local community, who continue to support Triathlon WA in delivering one of the biggest, iconic event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.