Ironman Australia cancels 2020 event in Port Macquarie due to COVID-19 pandemic

Back to the drawing board: Ironman Australia has cancelled the 2020 event in Port Macquarie. Photo: supplied
Back to the drawing board: Ironman Australia has cancelled the 2020 event in Port Macquarie. Photo: supplied

Ironman Australia has been added to an already lengthy sporting event COVID-19 casualty list following the decision to cancel the 2020 event.

The original date in May had to be rescheduled until September before organisers pulled the pin altogether for this year on July 7, citing the ongoing pandemic.

Ironman Australia local organising committee chairman Mike Reed said while it was disappointing, the safety of the athletes, volunteers and the community had to be paramount.

"There are other sides to consider when organising an Ironman event and that's the community," he said.

"We had to have that in the back of our mind that the community would be safe and with events these days with a 500 person limit, it's almost impossible for an Ironman to run that way.

"You can get exemptions, but the time-frame for that didn't allow us because we had to make up our mind today."

Mr Reed said the tipping point was government regulations.

"There is no way of getting around that because that's the law and that's what we've got to stick to," he said.

"We don't want the situation where we get a potential outbreak in Port Macquarie."

"Bigger things have been cancelled like the Olympic Games this year where they made a call very early and that's the yardstick," he said.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's group manager for economic and cultural development Liesa Davies said there would be significant economic impacts on the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.

"On a typical year, Ironman would bring around $16 million to our local community, but we knew in recent months this would be a significantly different event if it were to go ahead with border restrictions and closures," she said.

"We're all hopeful we'll move through this period and get back to the point where we can move around more easily and with less concern to have these sorts of events," Ms Davies said.