01 October 2020

Event preview: A challenge down under

March 31, 2011

The Australian island of Tasmania will once again play host to the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. After a three year hiatus, leading Formula One driver Mark Webber is hoping international adventure racing enthusiasts will join him down under for the competition later this year.

Mark-Webber-Adventure-ChallAustralian Webber, who announced the event’s return in Hobart prior to last weekend’s F1 race 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 Webber to re-establish the five-day, multi-sport event that takes competitors across some of Tasmania’s most stunning locations.

“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 said.

When is it?

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 Formula One series in Brazil.

What is it?

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 said.


“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.”

The format

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 been introduced for people who want to experience a taste of adventure racing.

Who will be competing?

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. This year Webber is eager to bring in an even bigger field of international stars to compete.

But it’s open to everyone, elite or otherwise.


Amazing location

Webber, who is now settled in the UK but returns to Australia as often as he can, said the course will travel through some of Tasmania’s most stunning locations including the Freycinet National Park, picture postcard Wineglass Bay, wild Bruny Island, the deep forests of the Hartz Mountains, the cliffs, blowholes and caves of the Tasman Peninsula and the rolling Hobart hills.

“I’ve seen a lot of places during my F1 career, but every time I go home and visit Tasmania I am always reminded what a beautiful place it really is. It is one of my favourite places in the world,” said Webber.

How much does it cost?

Van Diemen Cup (5 day Corporate pairs) AUS$10,000 (approx £6500) per team

Ambassador Cup (3 day Open pairs) AUS $6,000 (approx £3800) per team

Challenger Cup (1 day Open pairs or individuals) AUS $440 (approx £280) per team, AUS $220 ($140) individuals

The entry fee for the Van Diemen Cup and Ambassador Cup is all inclusive of accommodation, food, medical support and race kit.

More information


Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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