Ten reasons why you should race Port Macquarie Ironman Australia

Why you should race ironman australia best Ironman in Australia

It has been two years since I’ve raced at Port Macquarie and after racing the Ironman there last weekend I’ve remembered why I fell in love with Ironman “Oz” back in 2004.  If you haven’t done it, or you’re contemplating whether it’s for you, this blog might help you make up your mind (or persuade a training buddy to join you).

After a discussion with some friends, we rattled off a whole heap of reasons why we love the Port Mac Ironman. Many of us have raced Cairns, Busselton and Melbourne, but the original Port Macquarie has something special about it that makes it irresistible.  It should definitely be on your to-do Ironman list.

Here are our TEN reasons why you should race Port Macquarie Ironman Australia…..…..

  1. The legends

To become a “legend” and to have legend status in the Ironman Australia world, you have to be a ten times Ironman Australia finisher. That in itself is pretty special – but it’s significance is beyond the legend status. The organisers of the race treat these legends with such respect it’s admirable. Some of their privileges include….. getting their own race number (for life), priority entry when registering and different coloured race numbers showing everyone how many Ironman Australia races they’ve done (etc).   BUT it’s how the other athletes treat these legends that is the real standout. The amount of other competitors I saw and heard gee-ing up the legends was a true representation of good sportsmanship, respect and genuine love of this crazy-arse sport.

{ For more official information regarding the legends click this link}

  1. Park and play

My great friend Bel said she loved that she could just “Park and Play” at Port. She went on to explain that you can arrive, park your car and then play. Everything is handy and within walking distance (registration, transitions, presentation tent). While you may opt to stay at Flynns Beach or out of town, everything within the township of Port is within 2km, which makes getting around easy.

  1. Carbo and Presentation nights

The Carbo and presentation nights are held at a central marquee near the transition.  There is something about sitting with 2000+ other athletes, sharing a meal and hearing the smack talk that makes Port Macquarie a little different.  It’s a true celebration of all things Ironman.

The presentation night this year seemed to be the best in around ten years. Even though there were plenty of presentations — from pros podiums, age group podium winners to the Tri Club presentations, the speakers and video clips were exceptional. It really is worth going to these events. It just feeds your Ironman love!

  1. Running the Breakwall

I do love the Port Mac Ironman course, in particular, running along the breakwall. It is always refreshing to run along the breakwall – it is flat, wide, the crowds are thick and the energy from the water seems to help push you along. After the breakwall section, you also get to run past the finish line so you often hear the blasting music and the sounds of the chute. Perfectly motivating!

Port macquarie rockwall breakwall


5.  The tough and honest course

Port Macquarie is a tough course. You can’t “hide” at Port – you have to be strong and fit. The hills are sure to test you, in particular Matthew Flinders Drive, but it is also one of the most rewarding parts of the ride. Whether you walk the hill or ride it in the big chain ring, the 7% average climb combined with the crazy crowds will definitely help make you smile and make this part memorable.

Matthew Flinders Drive Ironman Australia
Can you guess what I’m saying. I’m actually singing….. don’t ask what.


6.  Family, team, community and clubs

This race is all about family, team mates, community and clubs. They’re everywhere and it is perfect! The team shirts, club hats, banners, tents, families on bikes and coffee shops flooded full of athletes.   There is nothing solo about Ironman Australia and everyone seems to come together…. Which brings me to the next one.

Ironman Australia Port coffee shop stops

7.  The whole town becomes Ironman

Port Macquarie is inundated by Ironman, Ironchicks, Iron-families and Iron-supporters. You can’t walk 100m before seeing someone you know or at least seeing someone you feel you should know! Even if you don’t know anyone, it won’t take long before you have someone to chat to.   Everyone who sees you’re there for the Ironman will give you a smile when they see you’re a competitor (or even if you’re not) and the locals will often give you a smile and a hug.

8.  The history

I’m not too good with all the History of the race, but there is a real acknowledgement and respect for those who have helped shaped Ironman in Australia and worldwide. From the Hall of Fame recipients, the legends, the IMMORTAL (Dave Ross) and even the first timers, you feel like you are part of a big Ironman story. A story that you hope continues because you’ve been just a small part of it.Port ironman history

9.  The crowds and the costumes

This is HUGE and the scale of the costumes and crowds seems to be growing each year as many supporters make the pilgrimage to Port Mac. They are amazing! When you have sumo-suited men, super-heroes and random chickens cheering your name, you can’t help but smile. The crowds, their signs and costumes are very entertaining – even if you’re in a world of pain, they make it fun.

Ironman Australia Support crew

10.  The heart of Australian Ironman

This one is a bit wishy-washy, but as Mike Reilly said at the Presentation night this year, Ironman Australia (Forster and Port Macquarie) played a BIG part in helping build Ironman in Australia and even worldwide. It is where is all started. It has a heart and I love it. I truly believe it is the “athletes race” and everything special about it is attributed to the athletes and their supporters.

Ironman Australia port mac 30 years

So, if you’re toying with doing the race. DO IT. Grab some friends, join a club and get into it. Yes it’s tough, yes there are hills, yes it can be windy – so prepare yourself and train appropriately so you can truly celebrate and be a part of Ironman Australia history.

For those of you who have race Ironman Australia, what did you love about it?

Entries are available online for general public from the  14th May 2015 (more information here).

Who is in?

Happy training Ironchicks,

cath 2

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10 thoughts on “Ten reasons why you should race Port Macquarie Ironman Australia”

  1. You are right, Port IS special!
    After crashing last year I was determined to finish this year and I ended up smiling the entire way around. How can you not with such support from friends, family and a town full of random people all willing you to finish. Also a massive shout out to the volunteers – just wonderful!
    It is a tough course but one I’ll absolutely be doing again!

  2. Well said Cath. I have just completed my 2nd Ironman this year at Port Macquarie. To say it has been of the top highlights in my life is an understatement. I have pondered doing Melbourne or Cairns but something about this place, the people, the atmosphere, the scenic location draws me back. From the moment we arrived in town complete strangers are saying hi to each other as we all know we are together sharing something unique, spectators and supporters included. I couldn’t resist and already have my Rockwall cabin booked for 2016!

  3. Well said Cath, after hearing so much about doing an ironman from all you “crazy” people over the last few years I’m so happy I took the plunge and did Port this year as my 1st IM. I couldn’t pick 1 favourite thing so here’s two. 1/ the volunteers who were everywhere in big numbers. The lady who checked me in at registration was also the same lady that checked me in at Transition when racking my bike. 2/ that finish line, what an experience heading down the chute to see all the support. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life and being back there from 9.30pm till the last person crossed was awesome!!

  4. Another great read Cath. Yes, Port will always have a special place in my heart. We went 5 years in a row from 2006 -spectating, 2007-2009 competing and supporting and 2010 working (at expo) . Always a great atmosphere and yes an honest and challenging course. The town certainly takes on a vibe all of its own. Congrats on yet another wonderful finish, you truly are an inspiration . Ang xx

    1. I think Port is like a second home to many athletes. Thanks for your lovely message Ang. See you next year

  5. Hi Cath
    Before Ironman became a must do bucket list item for the endurance junkie who has only in recent years found it there was Ironman Australia . Founded in Foster Tuncurry some 30 yrs ago with a little over 100 competitors no one new that it would become the huge event that it is today . What did happen was that a heart started to beat and has beaten bigger and better every year since and in the world wide phenomenon of Ironman it is truly an iconic event that should be on every would be Ironman aspirant .
    Now that heart beats loud and proud in Port Macquarie while keeping a very personalised experience for all.
    From the moment you turn off the highway into the township the vibe and friendliness is evident ,when you check into your Accom to buying your groceries everyone asks are you here for the race,where so glad you came ,we’ll be cheering for you on Sunday ,i’m volunteering ,we think your all amazing .
    This is what makes Port so special .
    Oh I should mention the race , this race gives you the true test of an Ironman event .
    Great local organising committee
    The swim is a good course which judging by times is very accurately measured .Can be a little chilly in May
    The bike course is very honest ( code for several hills and undulations ) surface is rough to smooth and all points in between but the support is fantastic and has to experienced .
    The multi lap run course is mainly flat will a couple of steep pinches which get the heart rate up .
    The atmosphere running through the township is like no other event but you also get the quite section out to the ferry at settlement point you get time to look within your self to soak up all the reasons your doing this .(especially when your out there after sunset ).
    I often think the faster more talented people who finish in the daylight miss out some of the Ironman experience that only the individuals who are out there after 12 hrs hoping to just finish under the 17 hrs get .
    They look like lost soles but with a determination to finish what they started to become an IRONMAN.
    The spotlights are on the coloured lights are flashing to the pumping music and like moths drawn to a light every finisher down the chute is celebrated as if they are the winner .
    For the finish line atmosphere at Port is like no other place on earth ,
    An example of this is last year in heavy rain after about 15 hrs of the race completed the crowds where still there singing and dancing in the stands when the power went out so athletes finished without being called you are an IRONMAN.
    OH NO this is Port Macquarie Australin Ironman the crowd as one new and identified the significance of this and until the power was restored roared in unison you are an IRONMAN for every finisher .
    That is why you must experience Port Macquarie IRONMAN .
    I’ll see you there for number 6 I’ll be finishing in the dark before the cut off with a huge smile as if I’m the winner