Hell of the West hailed one hell of a success

Organisers of the Barambah Organics Hell of the West at Goondiwindi at the weekend have branded the 2021 event, Hell of a Triumph, as the community celebrated 30 years of triathlon history in the vibrant border-town region.

Nearly 1000 competitors crossed the finish line in Queensland’s toughest triathlon, notoriously known as the Festival of Hell.

 On Saturday, 400 entrants participated in the family friendly GTH+ Super Saturday Event, consisting of a 5km and 10km charity run and regarded as an enticer triathlon for intermediate athletes and a mini race for kids aged 6-11years.

On Sunday, the gloves were off as 430 individual competitors and 80 team entrants set a cracking pace in deceptively hellish conditions for the Barambah Organics Hell of the West.

Elite professional triathlete Steve Mckenna from South Australia took out the individual men’s title in 3:29:41.

Last year’s winner Simon Hearn from Queensland was a close-up second in 3:29:51.

Mckenna and Hearn both broke the race record.

For the individual women’s event, it was pro athlete and Brisbane local Ellie Salthouse taking the title in 3:50:41, just 15 seconds off the record.

New Zealander, Amelia Watkinson was runner-up in 3:55:26.

Organisers and athletes embraced new COVID safe event regulations as they took to the mighty Macintyre River for a 2km swim followed by an 80km bike ride and 20km run.

Set among some of Australia’s most fertile farming country, the Hell of the West presents a unique set of challenges for athletes.

Race director Tim Richards said the Hell of the West has built a reputation as Queensland’s Toughest Triathlon.

“From the scorching heat to spur-of-the-moment summer storms, athletes must always prepare for the unexpected,” Richards said.

With visitors and guests participating in events across the weekend, the festival draws more than 2500 people to the region, directly contributing an estimated $400,000 to the local economy.

Across the weekend 300 volunteers worked alongside a dedicated COVID sub-committee, local ambulance committee, police authorities, SES, security, main road authorities and Goondiwindi Regional Council to ensure the success and safety of the event.

“The Hell of the West is a major event for the Goondiwindi region, which our community is extremely proud of,” Goondiwindi mayor Lawrence Springborg said.

“To be able to celebrate 30 years this year demonstrates this region at its best. It’s involved thousands of volunteers and significant business support over the years to reach such a remarkable milestone.

“The event promotes our region to visitors from near and far, which is great for the local economy, and a credit to the organisers that they can continue to attract large crowds resulting in booked out hotels and motels,” Cr Springborg said.

Local producer and award-winning dairy, Barambah Organics teamed up with organisers to help bring together this year’s exciting line-up of events.

Barambah Organics spokesperson Maja Sliwinski said: “We love and support the event for so many reasons. It’s great for the community, it’s great for tourism and it encourages and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, which is what we are all about”.

Organisers celebrated this year’s 30-year milestone with a number of free activities in the Goondiwindi Town Park and a big breakfast thanking the local community, volunteers and visitors and their guests for their ongoing support.

“We’d like to thank all our sponsors, competitors, industry associations, volunteers, our local council, Southern Queensland Country Tourism and Tourism Events Queensland for their continued support and making the festival such a great weekend. Next year we will return and you just never know what you’re going to get,” Tim Richards said.

For all detailed results go to

Media Release: Sunday, February 7, 2021