Super League Triathlon: Choosing Jersey 'a no brainer'
CHRIS McCormack, the main driving force behind the concept of Super League Triathlon, says Jersey's unique character was the primary reason for bringing the multi-million dollar series to the Island.
Earlier this month Super League – a new concept, launched with a trial event in Hamilton Island, Australia, in March – confirmed that Jersey would host the first event in the 2017/18 series. Islanders can now expect to witness the world's best triathletes, such as Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, compete in the heart of St Helier this September.
But for many of the sport's global following, Jersey may well appear a rather obscure location to launch such a highly-anticipated series. Certainly when you compare the largest Channel Island to some of the other glamorous locations the event will visit – Singapore, Melbourne, Dubai – Jersey appears out of place.
But for organiser McCormack, who has spent 18 months establishing the Super League, bringing the new series to Jersey was 'a no brainer'.
'Triathlon as a sport in the UK has exploded – you are the dominant nation on the planet,' said the Australian, a former ITU and Ironman world champion.
'We knew that if we were coming to Europe, we wanted to be in the UK. There was a lot of talk about maybe London, or Manchester – but we were like "let's go to Jersey". We have an opportunity to put on the biggest event in Europe at the time, establish Jersey as a key destination race to come and compete at, and you can really get a lot of support from a small Island because you're not lost in so many other events that the mainland has.
'We are really excited. We were prepared to invest in the event because we see long-term that Jersey has the ability, alongside Super League, to potentially rival the London Triathlon, which has 15,000 people.
'There is the ability to scale this thing. You can have a mass-participation race we can build over the next five years, which will be enormous. We can take people around the Island and we want to show Jersey just what triathlon is at the top level, and give exposure to a lot of the young kids and the community to grow triathlon from the bottom up.
'It is quite a luring destination. Isle of Man has the TT, I just felt Jersey was unique in that sense. It wasn't mainland UK; it had its own identity as does Super League, and it had an engaged group of people who were very, very passionate about delivering the event. That's all the ingredients for making a successful event.'
Free to watch, competition will take place on 23 and 24 September, with athletes competing in a Triple Mix event on the Saturday, before an Eliminator on the Sunday. The course, which will be much shorter than the full triathlon distance, will be set around Elizabeth Marina, with the swim taking place in the marina itself.
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