The last Sunday in February marks a significant occasion for Sparke Helmore Lawyers, Newcastle and many triathletes this year, as Newcastle's premier sporting event will be celebrating its silver anniversary.
When former Sparke Helmore Partners Paul Anicich and John Davis missed out on a Sydney-based triathlon, they saw an opportunity to start their own local event using the newly-developed harbour foreshore as its backdrop. Twenty-five years on and the Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon is bigger and better than ever, with more than 1,500 participants expected to take part. A further 3,000 spectators are expected to line the course, cheering competitors from the picturesque Queens Wharf.
"It's amazing to see how the Triathlon has evolved and it really comes down to the local community embracing the event to raise much-needed funds for local charities," said Sparke Helmore's Newcastle-based Chairman, Mark Hickey. "We hope to see lots of familiar faces at the starting line again this year (and many more new ones) to join us in celebrating this milestone."
Since 1994, the Triathlon has raised almost half a million dollars for charitable causes, including the Hunter Medical Research Institute. This year, funds raised will support local paraplegic triathlete Lauren Parker through her namesake foundation. Lauren sustained catastrophic injuries on a training ride in April 2017 and was given a 1% chance of walking again after her accident. She didn't let this stop her pursuing her aspirations and has since competed in a team event at the Maitland Triathlon in November and come in second at the St. Kilda OUT Paratriathlon Oceania Championships earlier this month, with the Commonwealth Games firmly in her sights.
The Triathlon offers three different courses to cater for novice and professional athletes, and is open to individuals as well as relay teams of three. Visit www.newcastlecitytriathlon.com.au for more information and to register for an event.