Women going the distance at Coolangatta Gold
COOLANGATTA Gold will introduce the Women's Long Course event in this year's competition, with a winner's purse of $25,000.
Since 2005 women have been relegated to the Short Course event, but Surf Life Saving Australia said growing demand and an increased profile for Australian ironwomen has resulted in approval for the longer distance event.
Defending champion Brodie Moir celebrated the news in the way only an ironwoman would, adding extra kilometres to her already rigorous training schedule.
"That is music to my ears, bring it on," she said.
"It really isn't that much further, it's the ski leg that has been extended to 23 kilometres, the remainder of the course, apart from the swim is about the same.
It is a great for the sport as a whole and it will give all the girls something to strive for - to be the first Long Course women's champion would be awesome.
"The decision to make it longer is exciting for the girls and exciting for the future of ironwoman racing."
Courtney Hancock, 2011 champion and last year's runner-up, agreed the news was exciting.
"I think it is so good for the sport for Surf Life Saving to extend the race for the full distance for the girls and to provide equal prize money as the men is fantastic," she said.
"It is great for the sport as a whole and it will give all the girls something to strive for - to be the first Long Course women's champion would be awesome.
"I know I will do anything I can to help promote ironwoman racing and the Coolangatta Gold. It's a great event, an iconic race and something I know will be really well accepted amongst all the girls."
Surf Life Saving Australia spokesman Ian Hanson said adding the Women's Long Course was another way to compliment the growth of the iconic sporting event.
"We as an organisation are delighted to be able to recognise the ironwomen; offer them a Long Course race and also offer them equal prize money," he said.
"The overall numbers in the Coolangatta Gold continues to grow each year and next year we look forward to celebrating 10 years since it was re-introduced onto the SLSA calendar back in 2005.
Coolangatta Gold will be held in the October this year.