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Event review: Abu Dhabi International Triathlon
My new year’s resolution for 2012 was to push and challenge myself both physically and mentally and so when I heard about the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT) it was an opportunity I just couldn’t miss.
The ADIT started three years ago and has since gone from strength-to-strength, attracting athletes from all over the world, both amateur and elite.
This year saw a total of 16 World Championship titles, 47 European titles, 102 national titles and 76 Ironman wins, plus more than 500 podium places all taking part.
Now that is a really strong line up!
I’m not an experienced triathlete, in fact I have only ever competed in one before. The presence of the elite athletes and the fact that the event is cited as being one of the top five triathlons in the world was daunting; however it also meant that I had to take my training seriously. You can read all about it in my Talking Triathlon blog!
The Swim – 750m
The race began with the swim and my wave was the last of the day so I had been able to watch the other competitors leave before me.
It was set in the beautiful Arabian Gulf open water and as I finished and came out onto the beach stretch, it was great to see all the people who had come out to watch and support.
Luckily changing tents were provided after each discipline, which meant we had the privacy to get changed. It made a nice change as I know normally you have to do this in full view of everyone!
We also had bags allocated to each leg which made it much easier to find our kit; a great idea as normally your belongings are piled up in a heap next to your bike.
The Cycle – 50km
The bike leg was tough with a combination of 30 degree heat and strong winds but it felt safe as the roads had been completely closed off for the event.
I did enjoy the cycle but as it was set on the highway to the F1 Yas Marina Circuit there were hardly any spectators to support and motivate us.
Personally my ride was a manageable distance, but I heard from other athletes afterwards that it felt extremely lonely at times and lacked the same atmosphere they experienced for the swim and run.
As the end of the bike neared I prepared myself for ‘jelly legs’ and this is where I was grateful for all of my brick training!
The Run – 5km
The run was along the Cornice with spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf – simply breath taking as it was surrounded by trees, landscaped parks and beautiful gardens. We really couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the race, and as I crossed the finish line there were plenty of spectators and athletes cheering for us.
I was shocked to find out that I had actually underestimated myself quite a bit and beaten my target time by 37 minutes, which was great way to finish on a high, plus the fact there was so much fantastic food waiting for all the competitors when we had finished!
Would I do it again?
Yes! I have signed up for March 2013 and can’t wait!
- Stunning and interesting course with the route incorporating the ‘must see’ sites in Abu Dhabi.
- One of the top five triathlons in the world so that alone is pretty awesome.
- Organization and marshaling was flawless and the volunteers were encouraging, helpful and enthusiastic.
- There were plenty of hydration stations with gels, water, flat coke, bananas and sun block.
- The venue of the bike circuit was slightly misleading as I expected to ride on the FI circuit. Not until I received race instructions the week before it detailed that this was not an option due to the length of my course.
- There needs to be more information pre-event for beginners or less experienced triathletes. I was pleasantly surprised to see a mix of athletes abilities on the day so it would have been reassuring to know this before, it might alienate beginners with the impression it is only for ‘pros’.
- Costs add up for flights, hotels, transport of bikes etc due to the event taking place outside of UK.
More info: www.abudhabitriathlon.com
Sheena Sidhu, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine