Big names, big brands, big challenge

Big names, big brands, big challenge
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Big names, big brands, big challenge   

A world-renowned adventure race like the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge is bound to attract some of the biggest sporting names in the business, and this year is no exception. Find out which sporting giants are taking on the 2013 challenge.

Team B&T is also taking on the 2013 Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. We are blogging live from the event, covering the highs and lows of the five-day adventure race, and looking at the inside story on the significant branding and sponsorship around the event. Here’s our Day Three report.

Day three: Strahan

Today, Team B&T went to Hell's Gates and back – and it was as tough as the name suggests.

Day three of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge started with a mass competitor jump off a boat into the harbour and a frantic swim back to shore. It was one way to get the adrenaline pumping first thing.

A large part of today was kayaking, through Strahan's notorious Hell's Gates and then back again. As the water swirled and the currents raced, it was tough at times to keep moving forwards.

It was the day that Team B&T was dreading the most as it was definitely 'the kayaker's day', so it's a huge relief to have it in the bag.

We're over the hump – two days' racing left. And we're still standing… just. More importantly, we're still smiling.

 

The big guns

Big names attract big brands – and the Swisse Mark Webber Challenge is no exception.

Some of Australia’s, and the world’s, top athletes descend on Tasmania – along with the more regular fitness enthusiasts – to take on the epic adventure race.

And with five days, 350 kilometres, a prize fund of $30,000, and the stunning backdrop of the Tasmanian countryside, it’s no surprise.

“The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge awards the highest prize money of any adventure race in the world and attracts world class athletes – not only from the adventure racing field, but sporting personalities from a variety of sports,” explains Adam Hodge, group commercial director at Octagon, which manages the event.

Some of those big names taking part this year include surfer Layne Beachley (main picture above), Olympic rower Ken Wallace (right), triathletes Courtney Atkinson and Emma Snowsill (above), stuntman Guy Andrews and world adventure race champion Richard Ussher.

Those big names attract big coverage and, therefore, big sponsors.

“Gone are the days of big brands tossing money at events just to slap a logo on it,” says Hodge. “It’s a big reason why we are seeing a consolidation of sponsorship properties.

"To service, you need to be either a large scale mass media property that can offer scale and breadth, or a much more focused property that provides debt of association and relevance to a specific target market. We are obviously in the latter, and these events in the middle are the ones we most often see fall by the wayside over time.”

Team B&T, consisting of B&T features editor Lucy Clark and her racing partner Dom Collie, is taking on the challenge. It runs over five day and covers 350 kilometres, across the western Tasmania wilderness. It features kayaking, mountain biking, trekking and running – all self-navigated.

Tune in each day to find out how they fare – and for interviews with other racers and event sponsors. 

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