Gray chasing Coolangatta Gold
FORMER Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club ironman Nathan Gray has set his sights on taking out the iconic Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold.
Originally from Lennox Head, Gray moved north to Kingscliff, before heading to Surfers Paradise SLSC.
Gray has been training with 2015 Coolangatta Gold champion and three-time winner Ali Day, in a bid to be crowned 2016 Long Course Champion.
"I think I could win this year and I'll give it my best shot,” Gray said.
"If I don't, I've ticked it off and I'll keep coming back until I do win it.”
The iconic event, which began in 1984, will return to the Gold Coast on October 15 and 16, with multi-disciplinary 32.4km short and 41.8km long courses combining swimming, running, board paddling and surf skiing.
Gray has been training six days-a-week with Day for the last four months to be ready for the race, which will push his body to the limit.
Gray said he's in his best physical and mental shape heading into next Saturday's event and was confident of a good showing.
"I like pushing myself to the limit and that's the reason I go there (Coolangatta Gold), to push the body as far as it can go,” Gray said.
"It's a marathon across the four disciplines and it's a gruelling race which is hard to train for, but anything can happen on the day and you hope you've done the work and hope your body can hold up.”
The 2015 Short Course champion said he'd aim to keep on pace throughout the race, before making his move late in the race.
"I'd like to make a move back end on the board run, I think I have the strength for the whole race, but on the back end I'll be coming home hard,” Gray said.
Before moving north to Surfers Paradise, Gray received what he believed to be the perfect grounding for the Coolangatta Gold through Cudgen headland SLSC and competing in the Cudgen Classic.
Day, Northcliffe's previous winner and Nutri-Grain Series winner Courtney Hancock (2011), Currumbin's Australian Open board champion Hayden White and two-time Australian Ironwoman champion Rebecca Creedy, officially launched the 16th running of the race at Coolangatta on Thursday.
Day and up-and-comer White headline the 25-strong men's field, which is shaping as one of the strongest in the competition's history, with Gray 2014 runner-up Jake Nicholson, paddleboard champion Matt Bevilacqua (Kurrawa), and previous Short Course winner Kendrick louis (Manly) all taking part.
The Short Course races kick off next Saturday, followed by the Long Course and Youth Challenge races on Sunday.