Mark Webber today confirmed the return of the event that carries his name, the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge.
Webber, who announced the event's return in Hobart ahead of this weekend's F1 2011 opener in Melbourne, is well known for his love affair with Tasmania and with the sport of adventure racing. It was these two passions that prompted the Red Bull Racing man to re-establish the event that takes competitors across some of Tasmania's most stunning locations after a three-year hiatus.
"After a three-year break I am thrilled the Challenge is heading back to Tasmania and that it's back on the calendar for the next three years," Webber confirmed.
The 2011 Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge will be held from 7-11 December, with Webber jetting into the state directly from the final round of the F1 2011 series in Brazil.
Athletes will take part in a gruelling five-day multi-sport course in five of Tasmania's key tourism and wilderness regions. With slight changes to competition categories, the Challenge hopes to attract a range of competitors, from elite athletes and adventure racing enthusiasts chasing the ultimate prize to competitors looking for a challenge and for something to push themselves beyond their limits.
"The Challenge has always been about having determination and drive to give something a go. Now, as with the world's great endurance races, the format will allow elite athletes to chase ultimate success while others can turn up having never done anything like this before and amaze themselves with what they can do," Webber added.
"Obviously you need to prepare for an endurance event - and with kayaking, trekking, trail running, climbing and mountain biking all part of the Challenge there is plenty to train for! But with five-day, three-day and one-day options we believe it is an event that has something for everyone."
This year will see the return of the Van Diemen's Cup (paired teams competing for five days) and the Ambassador's Cup (paired teams competing for three days) and a new one-day event has also been introduced for people who want to experience a taste of adventure racing.
"The Van Diemen's Cup and Ambassador's Cup are absolutely pivotal to what we are doing here in Tasmania," Webber continued. "But this year we've introduced a new one day event for anyone who wants to experience a taste of the adventure racing scene."
Past Challenge events have involved some of Australia's biggest international sporting stars including tennis champ Pat Rafter; cricketer Steve Waugh; Olympic medallists Cathy Freeman, James Tomkins, Michael Klim, David Crawshay and Scott Brennan and Paralympics star Michael Milton. International competitors have included British Olympian-turned-adventurer James Cracknell, who joined Webber and won in 2006, and British round the world yachtswoman Dee Caffari.