Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, is usually hot and dry in summer and this year is no exception. Temperatures for Sunday’s men’s and women’s Oceania and Australian 20km Championship are predicted to range from 24 to 38 degrees Celsius.
Competitors will no doubt be grateful for the early morning start and what shade there is on a course through the edge-of-the-central business district parklands abutting the River Torrens.
Jared Tallent has been a fixture in the top three of the challenge over recent years, finishing second, first and second in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. The multiple world and Olympic medallist has usually been able to bank maximum points at his ‘home’ event, but this year he faces a hot challenge from rising international star Dane Bird-Smith.
Last year’s challenge was launched with virtually simultaneous races in Hobart and Chihuahua, Mexico. Adelaide has the series opening honour on its own this year but within the following seven weeks the challenge will have visited five of the six IAAF areas as it kicks into high gear.
Adelaide (Oceania) will be followed by Chihuahua (South America) on 7 March, Nomi (Asia) for the Asian Race Walking Championships on 15 March, Dudince (Europe) on 21 March and the African Race Walking Championships in Mauritius on 11 April.
With the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, Asia will host three of the 11 legs of the challenge: the Asian Race Walking Cup, Taicang – host of last year’s World Race Walking Cup – on 1 May, and the World Championships.
Europe will host four races – Dudince (Slovak Republic), Rio Maior (Portugal) on 18 April and two in Spain, the European Race Walking Cup in Murcia on 17 May and La Coruna on 6 June. South America has two – Chihuahua and the Pan American Race Walking Cup in Arica, Chile on 9 May; Oceania and Africa have one each.