Hancock sets her eye on the prize

SURF star Courtney Hancock already has her eyes on the prize for next year’s Coolangatta Gold.

After filling a placing for the third straight year in Sunday’s iconic race, Hancock has joined race winner Alicia Marriott in calls for the women’s race to be extended to the same 46.65km length as the men’s event.

“If it means the women get equal prizemoney to the guys, then bring it on, it’s just another challenge for us,” she said.

“I think we’ve proven that we’re just as good as the guys, so why not.”

Next year was also on the mind of Mooloolaba’s Marriott not long after she crossed the line.

Her third race triumph matched the record of rival Hayley Bateup who was missing as she recovers from shoulder surgery and sets up a potential clash of the Titans next year.

While the Coolangatta Gold is never easy to win, Bateup’s absence meant Marriott didn’t have to push quite as hard as in the past, although the Hancock sisters, Courtney and Bonnie, and Liz Pluimers, pushed her all the way.

It wasn’t until the 2.5km swim from Burleigh Heads to North Burleigh and the run to the finish that Marriott was finally able to shake off her pursuers, of which Courtney was the most dogged.

Both Courtney and Pluimers paid tribute to the winner and said there was nothing else they could have done to win.

“I was pretty happy, I did the best I could out there, I didn’t leave anything in the tank,” Courtney said.

“It’s such a hard race because so much goes into it and it’s such a massive six months training for this.”

Marriott’s challengers in years to come may well feature the fourth, fifth and sixth placegetters – Northcliffe’s Bonnie Hancock, Maroubra’s Tara Coleman and Jorday Mercer, of Noosa Heads.

Coleman is the 19-year-old daughter of former South Sydney star halfback and coach Craig ‘Tugger’ Coleman and is one of the most improved competitors in ironwoman racing.

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