For the first time in the history of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, the race will be held in Australia on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. After a worldwide qualifying series of over 90 races, encompassing approximately 200,000 athletes, the best of the best will descend on Mooloolaba as more than 3000 athletes chase their own world championship dream.
More than 2000 of these athletes will be visiting from overseas and for many seeing a koala or kangaroo will be well and truly on their bucket list.
“Australia Zoo is one of Queensland’s most popular tourist destinations, and the work that the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors do especially with the wildlife hospital helping native Australian animals is inspiring,” IRONMAN Oceania Managing Director Dave Beeche said. “It’s an honour to be partnered with such a special and uniquely Australian charity.”
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital is the primary project for Wildlife Warriors. Inspired by the memory of Steve Irwin's mum Lyn Irwin, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital opened in March 2004 and is dedicated to saving Australia’s native species.
"We are incredibly honoured to have our Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors named as the official charity for IRONMAN,” Wildlife Warrior Bindi Irwin said. “My grandmother Lyn Irwin was an amazing wildlife carer and we are proud to be continuing her legacy and Dad's legacy at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. We feel very blessed that IRONMAN is supporting this important work.”
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said it was fitting the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship was partnering with the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
“Australia Zoo is an iconic Queensland tourism attraction and it’s great that IRONMAN are supporting an organisation that is significant for both locals and visitors,” Ms Jones said.
“The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital does amazing work and it’s great that major events like this support Queensland charities.
“I encourage all the athletes and visitors here for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to get behind the cause and support this truly Queensland experience.”
In November 2008, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital proudly opened a new facility to accommodate the demand for wildlife treatment and care.
“The Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital treats thousands of patients each year which have been found sick, injured or orphaned,” Wes Mannion, a Director on Wildlife Warrior’s board, said.
“We’re so proud of the Wildlife Hospital – we’ve now treated over 64,000 patients! Without such a special place dedicated to rescuing, treating and releasing native Aussie animals, so many patients wouldn’t make it. It’s always been our belief that by saving one, we’re helping to save an entire species and we’re so grateful to organisations like IRONMAN who support this great cause,” Mr Mannion said.
A dedicated group of wildlife veterinarians, a hospital manager, vet nurses and volunteers all work around the clock to provide first-class care for sick, injured and orphaned animals. The hospital team are also active in wildlife research to know more about koala diseases, migration patterns and wildlife health management.
IRONMAN and Australia Zoo have an aspirational fundraising target of over $30,000 which will go towards the Wildlife Warriors Animal Hospital and specifically Koala care. The key fundraising event will be the Boardies Beach Run held at sunrise on Mooloolaba Beach on Friday 2nd September.
In the tradition of the famous Kona Undie Run (where athletes complete a fun run at the IRONMAN World Championship in their underwear) the Boardies Beach Run will be an event for the entire community of the Sunshine Coast to come and join the IRONMAN athletes. All proceeds from this event will go towards the charity effort.
The naturally refreshing Sunshine Coast is the host region and official destination partner for the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, six of nine International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon Majors Series, mountain bike races, premier marathons and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than 680,000 participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 260 events across 42 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.