Prize Money Lure for World's Best

  • June 25, 2012
  • By Ian Chesterman

Mark Webber’s adventure race, the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge, will offer prize money for the first time in 2012, adding an additional lure for the world’s best to come to Tasmania for the five-day enduro.

The first elite pair to cross the line in Hobart on December 2 will win $20,000, with second taking a $7500 prize and third collecting $2500.

The event starts in Launceston on November 28 and will take competitors on five days across some of the island state’s most rugged terrain and along its testing coastline. The event includes mountain biking, paddling and running legs, with extra challenges including orienteering, abseiling and white water rapids thrown in along the way.

Webber, who is currently in Europe racing for his Red Bull racing F1 team, believes the money will be a big incentive for the top endurance racers to come to his event.

“Part of our vision for the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge is for it to be one of the world’s leading adventure races,” Webber said.

“We have come a long way already since I started it back in 2006, but now want to take the next step.

“The format changes we introduced last year were fantastic and this is another step to increase the competition at the elite end of the field.”

Event director, Mark Perry, says entry demand is already high.

“We have strong demand from within Australia and the introduction of prize money will help the Challenge bring more international competitors to Tasmania,” Perry said.

Tasmanian Mark Padgett, who teamed with Mark Hinder as Team Iron House to win last year’s Challenge, is keen to keep the money at home, but believes that says the prize will further boost the event’s appeal.

“Already people really like to take part because it’s got a great reputation with Mark Webber involved, and obviously Tasmania is considered a fantastic place to hold the race,” Padgett said.

“But the prize money will increase its status on the world scene, and I’m sure we’ll see more of the very top guys involved from the adventure racing world because of it.

“This level of prize is certainly equal or better than what other endurance races are offering.”

The Launceston based health and physical education lecturer would still clearly like to keep the title at home.

“I’ll just need to go out and win it again now. It’s a great incentive for me to train even harder,” Padgett said.

Full course details are yet to be released, and the precise course is kept secret until each day of competition, but the 2012 event, which raises money for Mark Webber’s nominated charities, will start in Launceston and then take in the North East Coast of Tasmania before concluding in Hobart five days later.

The finish coincides with a citizen’s event, the Swisse Mark Webber Challenge Adventure Run, a 6.5 kilometre run around the streets and parks of Hobart.

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