SURF QUEEN: Courtney Hancock leads the field out of the water after the 2.5km swim leg.
SURF QUEEN: Courtney Hancock leads the field out of the water after the 2.5km swim leg. Blainey Woodham

Caine has Midas touch

THE Gold Coast was a hive of activity at the weekend when ironmen and women from all over the country met for the running of the 2011 Coolangatta Gold.

Surf lifesaving star Caine Eckstein took out his fifth Coolangatta Gold title despite blustery conditions on the day.

"I probably had the worst night of my life last night," Mr Eckstein said.

"I let the nerves get to me a little bit.

"It was really hard with the wind, especially on the board as it was so choppy, but I hadn't done one in a northerly before so now I've done one in every type of condition."

Courtney Hancock took out the prize in the 30.5km women's race in the closest finish in the event's history.

Ms Hancock took out the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain series and the Australian ironwoman championship earlier this year.

She said she was driven by the memory of her surf lifesaving grandfather Ron Goodenough, who died last week.

At Burleigh Heads, hundreds of excited young nippers jumped up and down as they cheered their heroes on for the last stretch of the ironman race.

There was no parking space at Coolangatta as crowds gathered to watch the beach run from Greenmount to Cool- angatta.

The iconic endurance ironman race, born with the 1984 movie Coolangatta Gold attracted 217 individual entries and more than 300 competitors in almost 100 teams for the 11th staging of surf lifesaving's test of the toughest.



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