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Since its inaugural year, when it attracted just 180 competitors, the Noosa Triathlon has grown into an international multi-sport five-day event including the world's largest triathlon.

It's come a long way in more than three decades when the internationally famous surfing destination became a bit of a "ghost town" at the end of the September school holidays until Christmas.

Peter O'Neill - Photo by Noosa Triathlon

In an attempt to boost visitor numbers, local motel owner and Australian running legend,  Commonwealth Games Gold and Olympic Bronze Medalist, Dave Power, thought they should put on a little event to attract people to the area.

He discussed the idea of a marathon with mates, including Peter O'Neill, but as they thought that might be too long for some, this "new fangled" idea called triathlon was agreed upon.

O'Neill put his hand up to compete in the event to see how it went.

The transition area - Photo by Noosa Triathlon

“Triathlon was only a couple of years in the making so it was a whole new sport," he said.

"We got a committee organized and we got it up and running. Essentially I put my hand up and said I would jump in and do the race to see how it runs and goes.

And he hasn't missed an event yet.

O'Neill adds: “In those early days it was make it up as you go along and do the best you can on the day. We just went out and did it for the hell of it, for the fun of it.

“At the original race all the family and friends came down to have a look but nothing like what we have today with grandstands and people all along Noosa Parade.”

Thirty-five years from it's modest beginnings, the Noosa Triathlon sells out within minutes and is a bucket list item for most triathletes in the country.

And this weekend is no different. The five-day event culminates on Sunday (November 5) with the Noosa Triathlon - a swim from the beautiful Noosa Main Beach, a ride that takes in the scenery of the hinterland and a run that soaks up all that Noosa has to offer. 

MAIN PHOTO: 2016 Year in Review 133 – Photo by Delly Carr

NOMINATE YOUR CLUB OR COMMUNITY SPORTS HERO FOR A 2018 SPORTSCOVER CLUBBIES AWARD