It's one of Australia's most gruelling endurance events but a first-timer carries the favourite's tag into tomorrow's Coolangatta Gold.
The taxing 45-kilometre ironman event, combining four surf lifesaving disciplines in a race from Coolangatta to North Burleigh and back again, is wide open this year, with four-time defending champion Caine Eckstein not competing.
And in Eckstein's absence 22-year-old Ali Day has been installed as the favourite despite having never taken part in the iconic event.
Day, who finished second in last summer's Ironman series, is surprised to find himself as the pundits' tip for the race.
"It's a pretty weird sort of feeling when I see a lot of papers saying that I'm the favourite when I've never actually set foot on the start line," Day said.
"It's a pretty nerve-racking sort of thing but at the same time I don't have any expectations on myself to do any good.
"I've done all the work, I've done all the training for it, I don't really have anything to lose.
"All those guys who have done it before have got more experience in racing in those conditions and over four hours.
"It is pretty hard to deal with but I try not to think about being the favourite because I know there's 10 or so guys that are just as good as me, if not better."
Day said his biggest challenge would be the distance of tomorrow's race, double what he normally competes in, and the first time he will have pushed himself for four hours of competition.
The Sunshine Coast product believes the endurance over the final two hours of the race will be the winning and losing of the event.
He also is hopeful current Ironman series champion and 2007 Coolangatta Gold runner-up Shannon Eckstein will line up in the race despite remaining doubts over the 29-year-old's availability.
"I'd love for him to do it, I think it'd be really good for the sport and really good for the guys racing," Day said.
"It'd be awesome for him to do it, for us to line up against someone like that."
Race start is at 8.10am.