Ben Mather, Rowena Fry, Mark and Louise Padgett take over running of Freycinet Challenge

TAKEOVER: Tasmanian adventure sport leaders Rowena Fry, Ben Mather, Mark Padgett and Louise Padgett will co-ordinate the Freycinet Challenge this year for the first time. Picture: Paul Scambler
TAKEOVER: Tasmanian adventure sport leaders Rowena Fry, Ben Mather, Mark Padgett and Louise Padgett will co-ordinate the Freycinet Challenge this year for the first time. Picture: Paul Scambler

Four names synonymous with Tasmanian adventure sport are hoping to revitalise one of the state’s most iconic events.

In 2013, ’14 and ’15, Ben Mather, Mark Padgett and Rowena Fry were individual winners of the Freycinet Challenge and, along with Mark’s wife, former Australian cycling team member Louise, have taken over the two-day event from long-time organiser Tim Saul.

The two couples are as familiar with event organisation as they are with the spectacular scenery of Freycinet National Park that the event uses as a back drop.

The Padgetts have been involved with delivering the Coles Bay Half Triathlon and Icebreaker Multisport Challenge in the Cataract Gorge while for the 10 years Mather and Fry have been running the popular Blue Dragon Mountain Bike Challenge.

Now they are looking forward to tacking the Freycinet Challenge.

“The four of us have a strong connection with the event,” Mark said. “It’s an iconic event and it would be a tragedy not to be held but was definitely at risk and hopefully this secures it for the future.

“There are dwindling numbers and we are hoping the four of us bring renewed energy to the event. It’s the Australian multi-sport championships so we want people from all over the country to come and take part but also want to see plenty of Tasmanians having a go.

It’s the state’s must-do multi-sport event

Rowena Fry

“We have reviewed the survey feedback from competitors and made adjustments to the courses accordingly. Once we have approval, the new courses will be revealed and we are aiming to regain the competitors’ support of this unique event.”

Having peaked at nearly 550 entries in its heyday, the event dropped to 280 last year and the organisers want to see it back up around 400.

“Every athlete in Tasmania wants to tick the Freycinet Challenge box because it’s the state’s must-do multi-sport event,” Fry said.

Reigning champion Alex Hunt, of Hobart, is likely to start favourite in the individual event but competitors can also enter as part of a team.

Make it a multi

  • WHAT: 2017 Freycinet Challenge and Australian Multisport Championship
  • WHEN: October 14 and 15
  • WHERE: Freycinet NP
  • PROVISIONAL PROGRAM: Saturday – 16km trail run, 10km kayak, 40km cycle, 20km MTB; Sunday – 10km kayak, 40km cycle, 19km MTB, 9.5km trail run