The sport of triathlon has enjoyed exponential growth all over the world over in the last 20 years or so. Ireland has been no exception to this global trend with triathlon popularity rising in Ireland by 120% between 2009 and 2014 alone! From big branded races and championship events, to city races and iconic courses; it seems that everywhere you look there is another place, or a brand new race ready for you to test your endurance. At Sports Travel International we love how sport brings people together; how it can unite people even at times like this, when, physically, we might be further apart. So, today we wanted to take the chance to look forward to three big races for 2021 that we can’t wait for! Here’s to a time when we’re all back training, and racing, together again!
At Sports Travel International, we pride ourselves on bringing you the very best events, services, and experiences possible, at some of the most historic, iconic and sought after triathlon races in the world. Challenge Roth, IRONMAN Lanzarote, and the legendary IRONMAN World Championship at Kailua Kona, all regularly rank among the biggest, best, and most popular triathlon races in the world. Here’s our rundown of what we’re looking forward to most, at our ‘big 3’ events in 2021!
Why: A challenge like no other, in a unique UNESCO protected landscape
When: SATURDAY 22 MAY 2021
Europe’s original IRONMAN event and the oldest outside of North America, the Club la Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote will be hosting its 29th Edition in May 2021. Some consider it to be one of the toughest triathlon courses in the world; with high winds, heat and hills to contend with. Others say it’s the closest you can get to a Kona experience, outside of the Big Island, with the lava fields of Timanfaya National Park strongly resembling those of the Kona coast. One thing is for sure though, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, and the unique experience of this volcanic landscape, as well as a bike course that takes you on an almost full tour of this unique UNESCO biosphere reserve, culminating in a challenging but visually stunning climb up to the Mirador Del Rio viewing platform; the Club la Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote race experience is one you are sure to remember for a lifetime.
The Club la Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote winner’s roster also reads like a who’s who from the world of long distance triathlon. Belgium’s Bart Aeronauts, Kona Runner Up in 2018, and Frederik Van Lierde, who took the crown at Kona in 2013, are both recent winners of the men’s race. In the Women’s event, 13 time IRONMAN Champion Lucy Gossage and 4 time IRONMAN World Championship runner up, and fastest ever on the IRONMAN Swim Lucy Charles – Barclay both feature as recent previous winners. It is not uncommon to be rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in triathlon at Club La Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote, or indeed at Club la Santa itself.
Why: World Record Course over 140.6 Distance and unrivaled crowd support
When: SUNDAY 4 JULY 2021
It took only a matter of minutes for the world famous Challenge Roth Long Distance Triathlon to sell out, when it went on general sale on 20th April 2020. 2021 will mark the 40th Long Distance triathlon race held in Roth, and this long awaited milestone event (put on hold due to the global COVID – 19 pandemic), is promising to be ‘the biggest triathlon party of all time’. This event always features an all star pro field, and the crowd support that you can expect here is simply second to none. Both the men’s and women’s Long Distance Triathlon World Records were set on this blisteringly fast German course, and you are sure to feel like a celebrity, as you take on the famous solar hill climb, with cheering fans on all sides.
Home crowd favourite (and reigning IM World Champ) Jan Frodeno, set an unbelievable men’s long distance record of 7:35:39 in here 2016. For the women, Great Britain’s triathlon queen (and 4 time World Champion) Chrissie Wellington posted a time of 8:18:13 way back in 2011, which has remained largely unchallenged ever since. And, in terms of national records, Ireland’s Bryan Mccrystal (who came a close second to Olympic tri champion Alistair Brownlee on home soil in 2019) set the Irish long distance record of 08:07:37, at this race in 2018!
Roth has become the ultimate bucket list race for many long distance triathletes – but you don’t have to take our word for it… We spoke to Nathan, one of the many triathletes who’s already raced Roth, but come back to us wanting more – here’s what he had to say …
“I love the friendly, electric chatter between the hundreds of highly charged competitors just before the start cannon booms! Then that enormous wave of energy is released, as you head off on the days adventure. The immense buzz as you climb out of the water; hearing thousands of supporters cheering, and that cheering doesn’t stop! Riding at warp speed through the beautiful rolling countryside, on smooth roads, running along the river ,through the town, and onto the red carpet! The tremendous roar of the crowds is so encouraging you can not help but have your best ever race!”
Why: The home of Long Distance Triathlon – ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®
When: 10 OCTOBER 2020/11 OCTOBER 2021
Back in 1978 John Collins, of the United States Navy, proposed a race. This race was to settle a dispute between Collins and his friends over who were the fittest; runners, swimmers, or cyclists. It was decided that they would combine 3 of Hawaii’s toughest fitness tests; the Waikiki Rough Water Swim (3.8 km), the Around Oahu Bike Race (180.25 km), and the Honolulu Marathon (42.2 km). These three tests were then combined into one punishing race. The winner would earn the title of the IRON MAN. Of the 15 athletes, who took on this seemingly impossible challenge, only 12 finished. The fastest among them was local taxi driver, and Navy Reserve Gordan Haller, who finished in a time of 11 hours 46 minutes.
The rest, as they say, is history. Due to its growing popularity, the race found new home in 1981, on Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’. It is here that the windswept and barren, black lava fields of the Kona coast have now come become part of the legend of IRONMAN. From the iconic swim in the wild waters of the Pacific Ocean, to the infamous run course on Ali’i Drive; this is course has seen hearts break and heroes made; it has made dreams come true, and helped people from all walks of life realize just how much they are capable of!
Race where it all began; as they said in 1978, “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life” – ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®.
Entry to race at the Vega IRONMAN World Championship is by qualification only, however, for those athletes who do manage to secure a slot, we can offer the athlete experience of a lifetime and an unbeatable fan experience too!
…But 2020 isn’t over yet ….
We understand that so far this year hasn’t gone to plan. These have been widespread event postponements and cancellations, brought about by the global COVID- 19 pandemic, but the season isn’t over yet. For those of you who do still want to race in 2020, here at Sports Travel International, we’re committed to keeping you up to date on the latest developments from the world of triathlon, as and when we get them.
We Can Still Offer a Full Race Tour Experience at the Following Events;
This race has a stunning, newly refreshed course, in the European home of triathlon – Club la Santa the Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote 2020 will start out from the beautiful coastal town of Playa Blanca, and will take you on a journey of some of the lesser known gems of the island.
Although qualification for the Vega IRONMAN World Championship may have been more complicated in 2020, than in previous years; the island home of triathlon never fails to amaze, excite, and inspire. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE®, and were certain that Kona is sure to bring us another fantastic battle in 2020!
Aroha ki tēnei wāhi. Arohaina Taupō. (Love this place. Love Taupō). The magic of Maori culture will come to life before your eyes in this incredible race setting. Steeped in history and geological wonder, the beautiful New Zealand town of Taupō is situated on the shores of Lake Taupo, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world! This incredible location would provide the perfect backdrop for any event and is bound to and wonder to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship 2020, held later than usual, in November this year!