Champion effort: Courtney Hancock on her way to claiming the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironwoman championship.
Champion effort: Courtney Hancock on her way to claiming the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironwoman championship. Mark Donaldson

Hancock taking time to adjust

COURTNEY Hancock admits the title of ‘champion’ takes a bit of getting used to.

Two weeks after claiming her maiden Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironwoman championship, the former Sawtell clubbie is back in home territory to visit family and friends and soak up the euphoria of fulfilling a lifelong dream.

During the visit she called the Coffs Coast Advocate to pass on thanks to everybody who’d lined up in her corner.

“I have had so much support and I’m truly grateful,” she said.

“Since I was little it’s been my dream to win this and to have finally done it is simple incredible.

“It’s the most awesome feeling.”

The dream culminated with Hancock’s rise from sixth-placed qualifier at the end of 2009-10 to champion this time around, a result achieved thanks to a consistent season.

And that’s not easy in a sport that demands total focus under competition conditions, hours of explosive effort and always amid the constant threat that the ocean and the elements can wipe you out at any time.

One feat Hancock still needs to perform is to win a championship round in her own right.

Family-wise, the picture is ever brighter with news that younger sister Bonnie has also qualified for 2010-11 after rising three places up the pecking order in a year.

“Bonnie finished 10th overall and won’t have to go through the qualifying trials at the end of the year,” Courtney said.

Both girls will have little time to rest with at trip pencilled in as part of the Australian team for the 2011 International Surf Rescue Challenge in New Zealand.

Bonnie was an original selection in the under-21 squad but Courtney was a late inclusion to the seniors when Miranda Bell withdrew.

She will be competing alongside team captain Shannon Eckstein, Zane Holmes, Hugh Dougherty, Alastair Day, Dev Lahey, Thomas Nolan, Kristyl Smith, Naomi Flood, Elizabeth Pluimers, Alicia Marriott and Laura Shorter.

Meanwhile, it may not have the same glamour as the ironman and ironwoman events but Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving club president Terry Maher said his organisation expects in excess of 250 runners will enter the Australia Day Fun Run on Wednesday.

It will be the third time the event has been staged and this year the event will consist of 2km, 5km and 10km distances.

“All three runs will be conducted in the vicinity of the surf club, with the 10km event being two circuits of the 5km course,” he said.

“The run course consists of sand, road and grass which should contribute to an interesting and fun event.”

Registrations begin at 7am in front of the Coffs Harbour Surf Club and the race briefing will be at 8.15am. To try and beat the heat, the 5km and 10km races will be run first, followed by the 2km event.

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