She’s up against a red-hot field but Coolangatta Gold women’s champion Courtney Hancock is confident about defending her crown in the surf lifesaving epic on Sunday.
The 24-year-old believes she goes into the race better prepared than ever and has the know-how from her past experiences to hold off three-time winner Hayley Bateup and teenage star Jordan Mercer in the 32km women’s event.
“I think after I’ve had the experience of the race I’m a lot smarter about how I’ve trained for this, how I taper down for it, how I actually race the race,” Hancock told AAP.
“I know my body better every year so I know how many months, how many weeks, I need to get ready to prepare for this.
“I’ve definitely improved every year as well. I’m hoping I’ll have improved this year as well.”
Bateup looms as Hancock’s main challenger but another potential rival is Courtney’s younger sister Bonnie.
But rather causing tension in the Hancock household, Courtney says sharing the experience of the race with her 22-year-old sibling is one that provides a positive boost to both.
“We’re not competitive whatsoever with each other which is fantastic,” Hancock said.
“It would be so difficult if it was. We’re just such close mates, we really support each other.
“To get on the start line and know that Bonnie’s out there beside me, it makes me feel quite relaxed having my best friend out there. It’s only an advantage for me for sure.”
The Coolangatta Gold begins at 8.10am AEST on Sunday with the men’s 45km race before the women’s race starts at 8.20am AEST.
Source: Ed Jackson / SMH