Record crowds expected for channel challenge

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Record crowds expected for channel challenge

TWO champions of the San Remo Community Bank Channel Challenge could return for the 30th anniversary of the event this Saturday, February 7.

Race organisers are hoping Jon Van Wisse and Penny Reid will be among the 600-plus competitors expected.

Van Wisse holds the male record of five wins between 1992 and 2000, and broke the Arch-To-Arc event in Europe by 12 hours.

This event entailed a 140km run from Marble Arch in London down to the English coast at Dover. This was followed by a 33km swim across the English Channel to Calais, France before a 291km bike ride to Paris and through the Arc-De-Triomphe – all in 61 hours and 21 minutes.

Reid is a former Commonwealth Games swimmer and won the female section 14 times between 1992 and 2008, earning her the title of Queen of the Channel Challenge.

The event is again brought to the community by the Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club and one of the race organisers, Ron Nicholson, is anticipating a magical day for the 30th year.

“In recent years the event has been won by young up and coming triathlon competitors,” Nicholson said.

“But one of the things we pride ourselves on is that it has a lot of the community training and fit, and youngsters grow up aspiring to complete the challenge.”

The challenge involves a 550m swim from San Remo to Phillip Island, and then a 2km run across the bridge back to San Remo.

The race will start at 3.45pm at slack tide, giving competitors 20 minutes to cross the channel. Those looking like not completing the swim will be collected by a rescue boat.

Nicholson is hoping the field will top the record of 635 competitors vying for a prize pool of $3400 and the winner’s prize of $1000.

“We have good pre-registrations at this time and being it is the 30th anniversary, we hope to set a new record,” he said.

“We have had 600-plus three times and when we get 600-plus, it’s the biggest swim-run event in Victoria.”

Competitors aged as young as 12 are permitted to compete if they can present a letter from a swimming coach attesting to their ability, and also parental support.

More than 50 surf life savers will be on the water in boats, paddleboards and with swimming tubes to assist swimmers.

Locals Brian Dallinger and Geoff Daff are set to return. Dallinger has competed in all 30 challenges and Daff in 29.

The channel challenge draws a crowd of up to 10,000 spectators, and for that reason has twice been named best community event in Bass Coast Shire, and has also won an economic benefit award.

“We have a market in the morning, a carnival, golf hole in one, tug-o-war between the four hotels, a fashion parade, band, and the YMCA Cowes do aerobics exercises,” Nicholson said.

Scouts, primary schools and other community groups hold fundraisers.

The challenge is part of the Bass Coast Series, also comprising the Cape Paterson Aquathon and the Cowes Classic swim-run events.

Competitors will share in $3000 in prize-money, with awards for male, female, open and local winners in various age categories.

The Cowes Classic on Saturday, February 28 will be contested by 10 triathletes from the American National Athletic Association, in Victoria for a training camp. The event comprises a 550m swim and 4km run.

The Phillip Island Swim Classic on Sunday, March 1 is a 2km swim from Silverleaves to Cowes jetty, with an 800m fun swim for first time and young competitors.

  • To register for the San Remo Channel Challenge, head online to islandevents.org.au or register on the day at the race centre.
    Proud sponsors: San Remo Community Bank Branch Bendigo Bank customer relationships officer Tanya Donnan and manager Michael Scott are thrilled the local community bank has been supporting the San Remo Channel Challenge for 11 years. They are looking forward to the 30th anniversary event this Saturday, February 7.

    Proud sponsors: San Remo Community Bank Branch Bendigo Bank customer relationships officer Tanya Donnan and manager Michael Scott are thrilled the local community bank has been supporting the San Remo Channel Challenge for 11 years.
    They are looking forward to the 30th anniversary event this Saturday, February 7.

    Ready, set: competitors ready to start the swim leg of the San Remo Channel Challenge.

    Ready, set: competitors ready to start the swim leg of the San Remo Channel Challenge.

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Posted by on Feb 3 2015. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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