Du It For You

Duathlon training and racing: stories, advice, and views from the top

Category: Duathlon Races Page 1 of 2

Guest Post: MiamiMan Race Director Responds re: Long Course Duathlon

Duathlete Luis Lora’s guest post about MultiRace’s decision to shorten the USAT Duathlon Long Course National Championship course caused a stir! The USAT Duathlon Committee reported to me that it has followed the issue closely ever since Lora originally submitted his letter to USAT Magazine. In recent weeks, the Committee and USAT have taken action.

According to Committee Co-Chair Dave Lasorsa, USAT National Events Coordinator Cody Crowther contacted Miami Man race director Andre Quirino of MultiRace. After speaking with Luis and getting more information, Cody asked Andre for reasoning behind the decision.

Below is Andre’s response to his company’s decision to shorten the long course nationals from a 10K first run to a 3.2K first run. I’m also including a copy of the letter MultiRace sent to its athletes after the race.

Let’s continue a healthy discussion! Post your thoughts in the comments below. I’d like to believe stronger communication between athletes, USAT and its race director partners leads to higher-quality events we’re all excited to participate in. Duathlon is a wonderfully challenging sport with an intimate community that I for one would like to see grow. Let’s work together to make that happen. — Du It For You

Hi Cody,

I am in receipt of your recent (USAT Magazine) letter to the editor and I would like to personally address the various points you mentioned.

First, I would like to convey that I always encourage feedback from all our participants. Whether it is good, bad, or otherwise, direct feedback helps MultiRace (and USAT) improve the events and grow the sport and its various athletic disciplines.  While I completely understand your feelings of frustration in this matter based on the points you brought up, I hope that a deeper understating of the overall picture will abate your perception.

The ”generic response” you allude to is in fact quite accurate even if it is light in details. The truth of the matter is that the combined issues of both logistics and athlete feedback necessitated the change in distance.

While your example of a small/local 5K gaining early access to Sea World seems like a logical comparison, it is in fact quite a different situation at Zoo Miami. It is true that early access to Zoo Miami can be gained by small/local 5K’s and conventional wisdom would ask why can’t MultiRace/USAT with its National Championship event gain access?

Those events that gain early access to Zoo Miami are entering via the public accessible paths that are closed during the early hours, however, the Miami Man Duathlon course would require entering via the restricted (non-public) areas that run adjacent or near the animal paddock sleeping areas at a time where any disturbance is to be kept at a minimum.  Also, zoo staff & keepers are actively working in this area in the morning preparing/feeding the animals and with the many other tasks required before the zoo opens to visitors.  This is a Zoo Miami decision but it is quite understandable when looked at from their perspective of controlling and minimizing stress to the animals.

Further, it is always difficult in deciding when the physical challenges of a particular race are too high or too low for the intended participant target group.  You mentioned the heat of our Florida weather and the ‘sauna’ it created last year with the strong morning rain.  This is just one of the many aspects that have to be considered, however, it is simply impossible to have 100% participant consensus on such matters.

I will concur that we could have done a better job with the public announcement of the course change.  In hind-sight, a direct email to those already registered would seem to have been appropriate.  This has been noted and I thankyou for mentioning it… this is an example of participant feedback helping us improve the quality of our events going forward.

In regard to your point of a ‘questionnaire’, a post-race survey was sent out to all race-day participants.  Below is a copy of said survey with the original email date of November 26th.  It is through the survey responses (in addition to direct participant feedback) that we formulate our action points for the following year’s event.  We took several months in considering the racer feedback, the logistical issues with Zoo Miami, the current course and its alternatives to arrive at (in conjunction with USAT) at the best possible solution.  Obviously, as I stated earlier, it is impossible the achieve 100% consensus, but we endeavor as much as is possible to do so.

On a personal note, I would also like to emphatically state that ALL our participants, whether triathletes, duathetes, aquabikers, or aquathletes, have an equal level of attention and my upmost & sincerest effort is made to ensure that no one is left to feel marginalized.  I hope I was able to shed a bit more light on this situation and as always, please feel free to contact me with your comments, questions, or concerns.

Regards,

COPY OF SURVEY:

Dear Athlete,

 

On behalf of everyone at MultiRace, I would like to thank you for participating in the 2018 Mack Cycle Miami Man Half Iron & International Triathlon – USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships. I know the windy and rainy conditions were challenging for most, but we were fortunate we were able to see the sun shining by the end of the day. We sincerely hope you enjoyed your race.

 

In an attempt to continue to produce the very best events, we ask for your feedback, both positive and negative. MultiRace strives to improve your race experience at each and every event and have found that some of the best ideas/suggestions come from you, the participants. Please send me all your feedback and/or suggestions and we will try to incorporate these ideas into next year’s race!

 

We are extremely excited to host the 2019 USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships Festival at Miami Man on November 9-10th, which will include the Long Course Triathlon, the Long Course Duathlon, Long Course Aquabike, International Triathlon, International Aquabike and International Aquathlon. Be a part of history and add this “must do” event to your 2019 race schedule.

 

 

For more information: Click here Registration is now open!

 

Finally, please take a few minutes to fill out the USA Triathlon survey by clicking HERE

 

Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you next year at Miami Man. Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Andre Quirino

USA Triathlon Race Director

www.multirace.com

 

 

 

Guest Post: USAT Duathlon Nationals: How Long Is Too Long?

USAT and MultiRace, the host race director for the USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals, in Miami, unexpectedly made a long-course race shorter. Here, duathlete and coach Luis Lora shares his view on the change. 

Although Luis explains it more eloquently, my thought is this: athletes, why in the world are you complaining that a long-course national championship is too friggin’ long? Suck it up Buttercup! This race qualifies you for the toughest duathlon in the world. If you’re complaining now, you’ll be crying in Zofingen!  — Du It For You

Duathlon

Photo courtesy of Luis Lora

A Step Back for Duathlon
(my letter to the USAT Magazine Editor)

Luis Lora

As you may or may not have heard, the 2019 USAT Duathlon Long Course National Championship event has had a major change to its race distance. The 2018 edition of the event featured a 10K run, 56mi bike and a 13mi run.

Through a June 26th Instagram post by MultiRace it became public knowledge that the race would now have a 3.2K first run instead of 10K. This decision has taken the development and growth of Duathlon several steps backwards, and I’ll explain why.

First, we must attempt to understand the reason how or why this happened. Several frustrated athletes reached out USAT events in an attempt to gain an understanding of what happened, and this generic response is what they all received:

“In conjunction with feedback from the race director in Miami, we both decided it was best to shorten the first run course due to some logistical issues with the park and campground that it runs through. Additionally, many athletes provided feedback last year that they thought the first run was too long for this event”

The first part of that refers to logistical issues. What those are, we do not know from this initial email. Only after further inquiring beyond the initial response, if you have the time and patience to do so, is it relayed that there is no access to the zoo at race start.

For those that completed the event in 2018, that would explain the different 1st and 2nd run courses. A note on the 2018 first run: it was not the best. There were at least four 180-degree turns combined with paths that were narrow, which forced the top 20 athletes to race single file for the majority of that first run.

The 2018 first run certainly left much to desire and needed improvement, but not in regards to distance. The logistics of access to the Miami Zoo certainly presents an obstacle, but at the same time I’m wondering how my local running store can get access to SeaWorld’s staff, parking lot and park before hours for us to run a 5K Fun Run. Again, that’s a small local running shop, with much less influence than USAT or MultiRace, gaining access to SeaWorld, a much larger corporation than the Miami Zoo, for a fun run 5K, a much less prestigious occasion than a national championship event.

The second part of the generic response eludes to a first run too long for a long-course duathlon race. To clarify, this National Championship race qualifies an athlete for a Team USA slot to race in the 10K, 150K, 30K World Championship event. How does a 10k, 90K, 21K long-course race still seem too long? More importantly, would we be having this conversation if a few athletes complained that the 1.2mi swim or the 56mi bike or any other part of a long-course triathlon championship race was too long? Highly doubtful.

What are you telling us, USAT?

These initial points aside, the way this was handled, communicated and the message it sends is what truly makes it detrimental to the development of Duathlon.

We are told, only upon having to inquire, that participant feedback conveyed the first run was too long.

There were 111 athletes that made it to the start line for last year’s event. How difficult would it have been to reach out via email to those 111 participants to have them fill out a short survey with 3-4 specific questions around how they would feel about a shortened run at the 2019 event?

It seems like something that could have been easily done. Furthermore, was the USAT Duathlon Committee consulted regarding this change for their input? If so, where was the outreach from them, even simply through the group FB page to gain a wider range of feedback around a shortened run?

We were never made aware that this was an issue that needed some attention. The way this portrays to the duathlete is that when any slight hiccup in event planning presents itself, the easiest thing to do is to simply make the duathlon event less of a “hassle or burden” on race directors.

Fast-forward to the decision being made. How do you decide to relay this message to athletes that are quite possible halfway through the year training specifically for this race and the specific race distance? Surely an email would be sent from the USAT governing body or the USAT Events team. Non-existent. Well then surely MultiRace would make a big announcement through email and let us know as previous participants in both an effort to get us to re-register in 2019 and to inform us. NADA. A short Instagram post is all we got.

What does this mean for duathlon?

So what does this mean to Duathlon? I’m not 100% sure, but it says a lot of things. It says that after making the right decision and taking a National Championship event that was much shorter and making it a true long-course worthy distance, we’ve taken 3 steps back.

It says, “A Duathlon National Championship isn’t the same as a Triathlon National championship, what were you thinking.” It says, “Duathlete, you are not strong enough to race at this distance.” It says, “Duathlete, you can’t compete at the world level anyway, so why try to prepare you for success there.” The lack of desire and effort to push through boundaries and obstacles so we can get into the zoo or find a suitable way to run a 10K first leg says “Duathlete, your $350 registration dollars isn’t worth the same $350 registration dollars the triathlete pays.”

Listen, that race last year was brutal. For the first two hours I was right where I wanted to be and ready to earn a top spot in the last two and a half hours of the race. Unfortunately, a mechanical/equipment issue with my bike turned those aspirations of a top finish to pure survival mode.

Add in the heat that is present in Miami year-round and the morning rain that created almost a sauna effect in the mid to late morning made it even harder. I crossed that finish line in the top 20, nowhere near as high as I wanted, but felt good about what I gave out there on that course.

Since that day, I’ve been thinking about what redemption would look like at that distance, on that course. USA Triathlon & Multirace, you have taken that opportunity away from me and many, many other athletes like me…

Guest Post: Season Lost, Season Reclaimed

[Please read Part One to find out why Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, calls 2018 a “lost season.” It started with a couple misses due to weather, continued with misses due to illness, and culminated with a missed trip to Australia for the Sprint Triathlon Grand Final due to family illness. Here, he’s optimistic about his next race—a sprint duathlon. He talks about that race and what it took to reboot—mentally and physically—below. Enjoy!  — DuItForYou]

Steven Jonas One More Tri

Feeling pretty down, I was indeed looking at a totally lost season. BUT, I was scheduled for one more race, the Special Olympics of New Jersey’s One More Tri—racing the sprint duathlon—in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Sept. 16.

As August turned to September, I was thinking: if I don’t get injured between now and race day; if it doesn’t rain and if my family illness situation doesn’t deteriorate further, I will be there.And if so, that would mean that my season would have been very brief, but not completely lost.

The race was a short (1.5-mile run – 12-mile bike – 3-mile run) duathlon on a virtually flat course. The weather was gorgeous: bright sunshine, temps in the 70s, light northeast wind. This meant that on the north-south out-and-back bike course one had a headwind going out, but tailwind coming back, on each of the two laps. The runs were flat too: the first was an out-and-back on the classic Asbury Park boardwalk, the second a loop was around one of the town’s downtown lakes and then another out-and-back on the boardwalk.

And I made it! Yes, I was very slow, about 3:20 for the course, but I finished. Given that I had no races under my belt for the season and that my training had not gone that well because of that, I had to push myself all the way. And for the second run, being last (way back) I had a “sweeper” with me. Dave absolutely made sure I was going to make it. And I did!

The icing on the cake was that when I was coming in for my finish at the OMT Du, way behind everyone else, the DJ was still there. She played the “Chariots of Fire” theme for me as I came into the chute. That was the same theme that greeted me when I finished my first Ironman, on Cape Cod, in 1985—I was last then too, but ahead of the 17-hour time cutoff. Oh, what a feeling! It was like closing a loop.

But most important for me was that the One More Tri Sprint Duathlon was a total renewal experience. I felt that I had recaptured that past season. It was race #256 overall, in 36 seasons. “How can that be, in such a short race?” you might ask. Well, I dunno. But it did it for me, just to finish a multisport race once again.

Of course, I have been hooked on our sport ever since I finished that first triathlon in 1983. Although I have had several “few-races” seasons over the years, I’ve never had a “no-races” season. What I found that day at Asbury Park was that all that I needed to maintain my racing career for sure for next year, was one “fix” of a race. And I got it—a fix that one can be very thankful for—from my wonderful friends at New Jersey Special Olympics. For me, it rescued my season. Thanks, Jeanene of NJ Special Olympics and everyone!

This column is based on an article that originally appeared on the USA Triathlon blog. It is used with permission.

2018 marks Dr. Steve Jonas’ 36thseason of multisport racing. He began the season with a total of 255 dus and tris. He is a member of USA Triathlon’s Triathlon Century Club and is in the 90’s for duathlon. He has raced up to the Ironman distance, but now at 81, he is sticking to the sprints in both duathlon and triathlon.

Steve is a prolific author of books on multi-sport racing. His first (originally published in 1986) was The 2nd Ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006) is still in print. In 2012, he published a book exclusively devoted to duathlon: Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012). All of his books on multi-sport are available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. He is also long-time writer for various multisport periodicals, including the USA Triathlon Blog. He very happily joined Du It For You in 2016.

Throwback Saturday: ITU Duathlon World Championships, Pontevedra, 2014

In honor of the ITU Multisport World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, this weekend, I thought I’d post my race report from the ITU Duathlon World Championships in 2014 – also in Pontevedra. I’ll always remember the smell of cigarette smoke and grilled meat as we ran through the cobbled streets of that lovely city. I spent an extra four days in Galicia and loved every minute. I kept a travel journal, and this post is one entry of several. Note: when I talk about my travel/camping kitchen, I’m referring to the single burner I brought so I could make coffee and hot cereal in my hotel room. I’m strictly gluten-free (gluten sensitivity, Celiac gene and all, and didn’t want to risk GI Hell around a big race.) Best of luck to everyone competing today and this weekend–run-bike-run swift!

Pontevedra 2014 ITU Duathlon World Championship

Galicia, Day Four: Race Day.

I woke up with a jolt at 7:55 a.m. I’m so used to racing at 8, that waking up at 8 feels like I’m oversleeping and late for something. I quickly fired up my electric burner to boil water for coffee and start eating.

I ate what felt like my usual size dinner last night, but was hungry when I went to bed and hungry in the morning. Partly due to nerves and partly because I had four hours until race time, I ate a little more than usual, but not too much.

Thanks to my hotel camping configuration, I learned that canned organic sweet potatoes, pureed, no extra sugar, makes a good pre-race meal option. I ate part of the can last night with my dinner and took the rest with me to race headquarters so that I could have a snack in a couple of hours.

Surprisingly, I easily found parking on the opposite side of the river, about a ten-minute walk from the Sport Performance Center. The infield of a track served as the transition area and the run course took us along one of the straights for each loop.

It was about 9:30 by the time I got to the race site and the sprint race (5k-20k-2.5k) was well underway. I found the bag-drop building (amazingly efficient) and the entrance to the transition area, which I was not allowed to enter until 11 a.m.

I had some time to kill. Most of those 90 minutes were spent chatting with a few familiar faces: woman from the Santa Barbara area, last name Ray, who was on my flight into Vigo; a man from Oregon that stood in front of me in line at the bike check-in; other random USA people.

They opened up transition a few minutes before 11 a.m. and a throng of athletes made their way to set up their spots. The race organizers gave us buckets that looked like small laundry baskets for our stuff. All items had to stay in the bucket.

Turns out my NorCal ally, Cassie, was my transition neighbor, which was a nice surprise. Both jittery, we warmed up together along part of the run course, following the rear ends of a pack of men from France.

ITU Duathlon World Championship 2014

From L to R: Cassie, Martha (from Cleveland) and me

At about noon, all the standard-distance athletes assembled for the cattle call. There were six waves: three male, three female, from youngest to oldest. We were in the last wave, women 40-plus, which started (we thought) at 12:24, but actually started at 12:30. Those 30 minutes in the holding area had to be the most nerve-wracking. With each sound of the horn the nervous stomach lurched one more time.

We’re Off!

With lots of “good luck,” “have fun,” “kick butt,” and other well wishes, we were off! Around the curve of the track, running clockwise, out the main gate, a hard right, over the timing matt, another hard right, a sharp U-Turn and almost immediately up the first and only real substantial hill.

As expected, our group took off like a rocket. The women I planned to keep in contact with drifted ahead. For past two to three weeks, my running has been minimal thanks to a fussy posterior tibialis tendon. My usual 10k pace felt much harder than it should after a restful taper week.

The first 2.5k loop felt long, and we had to do this four times! Wandering through narrow city streets—cobblestone, asphalt and cement—smells of seafood and cigarette smoke wafting through the air, past an ancient church and any number of bars and restaurants, I eventually found a good rhythm. It seemed as though women were passing me left and right. We also had men from other waves passing us left and right. The 10k alone felt like enough. But there was oh so much more to go!

Transition went as smoothly as it could for someone who is not very fluid in such things. A long run in grass to the bike mount area just outside of the track and away we go!

Immediately I heard an incessant click-click-click with every wheel revolution. Oh crap, what now? My bike computer sensor was hitting a spoke. An attempt to lean over while riding to adjust proved difficult and dangerous. After a few miles, it annoyed me enough so that I leaned over and gave it a good swat and it slid to some spot I couldn’t see. I wouldn’t know how fast I was going, but I wouldn’t hear the click-click. [Editor’s note: this was a couple years before I invested in PowerTap pedals!]

The bike course was glorious. For those familiar with the East Bay, imagine 40k of Bear Creek Road: enough uphill on the way out to allow me to pass a lot of women, and long descents on the way back that were steep enough to go fast, but not so fast that my bike blew around in the wind.

The second loop was more of the same. On the 1.5-mile climb near the beginning of the loop, a group of women were bunched up. I was working my way up to pass them when a race official rode by and decided to hover around for a while. I knew he was watching for drafting. I was passing as fast as I could on a hill – geez! The presence of the race official apparently lit a fire in my rear because I found another gear and left the bunched up group behind.

A hard left turn took us onto a road parallel to the river that was lined with spectators. Cool. The dismount happened and off I went to hang up the bike and run some more.

The second run is always the killer and can make or break a race. Sometimes it feels bearable, sometimes it feels like your legs will fall off. Today it seemed bearable, but by no means easy.

I reminded myself that this is only a 5k. Only two loops this time. Piece of cake. Just stay strong and don’t be a wimp. At the first water stop (they handed out little plastic bottles with the lids still on), I dumped more water on my head and down my back and got to it. My pace was decent, I think, and I passed a fair amount of people, both women and men from earlier waves.

The crowd support was phenomenal. For both runs, the streets of Pontevedra were lined with people, including friends of athletes, sprint racers and a lot of locals.

Along the course, I heard “Go Johnson!,” “Go USA!” and “Go Chica!” Near the end of the last run I also heard “Animal!” from a man with a Spanish accent. For some reason, this odd cheer gave me a boost! I focused more closely on catching the person ahead of me, and then the next one, and the next one. I couldn’t wait to get on the track for the final 200 meters. I know what I’m supposed to do on the track: run HARD!

The end result: 2:34:41 good for 12thin my age group (out of 29) and second American in my age group.

I’m happy with my result. Could I have run a faster 10k if I hadn’t had to back off for a minor injury? Maybe. But would my bike split have been as fast if I hadn’t gotten in some really intense workouts in those same two weeks? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I placed much higher than last year’s Worlds in Ottawa (19 out of 26), my first world championship. And I love saying that I’m something in the world.

Why you should “du” a duathlon this fall

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You’ve recovered from your final “A-goal” triathlon or duathlon. You’re looking forward to a lengthy off-season where you can let go of “training” mode. You may even use your gym membership.

If you love to race, it won’t take long before the urge to compete returns. Instead of waiting until spring to shake off the cobwebs, incorporate a fall duathlon or two.

Because it is the off-season, take the pressure off yourself. Don’t focus on a PR or a certain place in your age group.  Frame any off-season races as hard training days or as time to sharpen skills. Focus on improving your transition time. Improve your cornering and descending skills. Practice good running form. When the New Year hits (and it will be here before you know it!) you’ll be prepared for an even better 2019.

Fall is an ideal time for duathlon. It’s too cold to swim anyway, so why not run-bike-run? You may find, like I do, that you love the relative simplicity and challenge that duathlon brings.

Fall duathlons from coast to coast

You can find duathlons almost anywhere you can find triathlons. Some cold-weather states (Minnesota comes to mind) have even more robust duathlon scenes because, well, swimming is cold most of the year.

How do you find a fall duathlon? Search USA Triathlon‘s website for a list of sanctioned races. TriFind also has a good race calendar that lets you search by sport, state and date.

Here’s a sampling of good stuff I found:

• On the west coast, you’ve got the Catalina Island Duathlon and the Marin County Sprint or Olympic Du on November 3. Note: Prepare to shell out a whopping $155 for the Marin County sprint du or $250 for the Olympic distance. Ridiculous. On second thought, skip this.

For SF Bay Area folks, my first and only choice for an early 2019 race is Du 3 Bears on Jan. 26. Choose from a short or long course or a relay. It’s managed by Wolf Pack Events, veteran duathlete Wolf Hillesheim’s company, which hosts duathlons and runs throughout the year.

• Florida, which has lots of warm water, likes duathlon too. There’s the Bill Bone sprint du on Nov. 4, in Lake Worth, and the Half-Iron Duathlon in Miami—aka the USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championship—Nov. 11. Clermont has a sprint duathlon series that runs through November.

• Louisiana: Check out the River Roux Duathlon in New Roads, Nov. 10. Or, the Dust-buster Duathlon on Jan. 6 in Shreveport.

• If you live near Navasota, Texas, check out the Dirt in Your Shoe Du on Dec. 8. It’s short, but it has a great name!

This is just a quick scan of races across the U.S. What are your favorite fall races? Tell us in the comments below!

 

Powerman Zofingen: Race reports and updates

What’s considered the toughest and most prestigious duathlon, the ITU Long Distance World Duathlon Championships, Powerman Zofingen, took over that lovely Swiss city the first weekend of September.

On Twitter, I promised I’d compile race reports for an upcoming blog. To date, there aren’t many full reports, but I did find some good nuggets of info about this epic event.

From ITU

First, here is the official report from ITU. Switzerland and France took the wins, with Petra Eggenschwiler (SUI) claiming the women’s title and French athlete Gaël Le Bellec winning the men’s race for the third time.

Powerman Zofingen winners

Check out the full report for photos and a list of top finishers.

One thing I noticed when perusing the results (particularly in my age group): the times appear to be faster this year than last. Is the new bike course faster than the old? If anyone has insights, please share!

Here’s the profile of the 2018 bike loop, which athletes complete three times:

2018 Powerman Zofingen bike course

A view from the top

In his inaugural Zofingen race, dominant U.S. athlete Albert Harrison finished sixth in the elite men’s race with a blazing-fast 6:25:52.

He published one of the few race reports I could find, and it’s a thorough one. He starts with the training, shares his goals and continues with his thoughts on the race and USA Triathlon’s lack of support for its duathletes.

He was on TV too. A lot.

Albert Harrison 2018 Powerman Zofingen

Most inspirational athlete

One of the most inspiring tidbits I found came from the Twittersphere. Blind athlete Fernando Raino didn’t just finish Powerman Zofingen. He finished strong.

For random info about Powerman Zofingen, including its history and a general course description, check out my post from September 1.

Got anything to add re: the 2018 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships? Please share in the comments below! We’d love to hear your story.

Powerman Zofingen: what to know about the longest ITU duathlon

powerman zofingen

Photo by Ozzymate [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Michael McCormack, a former professional Ironman champion who won Ironman Canada in 1991 and 1995 and broke the course record, once told me Powerman Zofingen was the hardest race he had ever done.

Considering McCormack trained with and raced against some of the best in the world in both triathlon and duathlon, that’s a statement not taken lightly. His words echo the sentiments of most athletes that complete this grueling race. It doesn’t seem so bad on paper, but executing is a different story.

What is Powerman Zofingen?

Thanks for asking! Launched in 1989, Powerman Zofingen is the longest championship duathlon. It’s also the most prestigious, as many call it the “Kona of Duathlon.” It’s one of the few duathlons that attract spectators. I’d say it’s one of the most competitive, and it is, but everyone from front to back suffers in equal measures. It’s the ITU Long Distance World Duathlon Championships as well as the International Powerman Association duathlon final.

The event consists of a 10K run-150K bike-30K run. Much of the runs traverse up and down through forests, while the bike goes up and up and up (and down) through hills, valleys and villages.

Here’s what I know about the course, until they changed it for 2018:
The first 10K starts with a steep 1.5K climb (about 8% grade) and continues up and down gravel trails. You do one 5K loop twice.

The bike consisted (until this year) of three 50K loops. Each loop has/had three solid climbs ranging from 5 to 3K-ish, which grades up to 10 to 15% on the Bodenburg ascent, as well as sweeping descents and a flat stretch. After 93 miles of riding, you get to “du” a 30K run.

For the final run, once out of transition you head(ed) up a long climb and then run up or down to complete three or four loops, depending on the year (the course has been tinkered with through the years).

Powerman Zofingen: a few historical tidbits

• In 1989, its inaugural year, the event was still called a biathlon. Yet, it was a three-legged sport: a 1.5K run, 150K bike, 30K run. In 1990, banana-hammock-wearing American Kenny Sousa won the men’s race.

Kenny Souza

Kenny Souza in 1993. Hope he wore more clothes in Switzerland. It can get chilly in September!

• In 1993, the prize money in Zofingen totaled $200,000—more than Ironman Hawaii.

• In 2000, attendance started to fall in Zofingen and at other duathlons worldwide. Why? Triathlon became an Olympic sport, which means the major players started swimming, biking and running for what became the more lucrative sport. [Biting my tongue here]

• On the 25thanniversary, in 2014, combined Powerman Zofingen events attracted 1,480 participants. (That includes PowerKids, charity and long and short distances)

• In 2018, nearly 700 athletes will line up for this incredible race (that’s not including PowerKids and charity, only long and short). About 383 athletes will do the full long-course event, according to today’s start list.

Powerman Zofingen today

Due to what were essentially permitting issues, Powerman Zofingen changed the bike and second run course. (Honestly I can’t remember if they altered the first run.)

The 2018 bike course is still 150K, but traverses through different villages and takes athletes over one of the hills in a different direction. It still has a comparable overall elevation profile—from a little over 1800 meters of climbing to a little under1800, depending on who you talk to.

The new course also features about 300 meters of cobblestone. The race directors promote this as a perk (oh yay! Like riding Paris Roubaix!). I see it as a potential tire-puncture risk. The descents are either technical or sweeping, depending on who you ask.

 

Best of luck to all the Powerman and ITU competitors. By the time this posts, I hope you are all sleeping soundly and wake up early in the morning feeling fantastic and ready for the path ahead. I’m cheering for you all!

CODA: Powerman Zofingen will be missing a bright light this year: professional triathlete/duathlete Alistair Eeckman. He died when a bus collided with him while he was on a training ride in Austria. He had just finished sixth in Powerman Austria and was gearing up for Zofingen. He is deeply missed.

10 international duathlons you need to “du”

Racing a duathlon in another country is a great way to explore someplace new—as a tourist as well as a runner and cyclist. If you like to keep your vacations active, plan one around an international duathlon. You’ll challenge yourself on a new course, as well as enjoy some “active recovery” experiencing local culture and cuisine.

Whether you’re looking for a long-course duathlon with a competitive field, a short, flat course to test your speed, or something hilly and scenic, somewhere in the world you’ll find a duathlon for you.

For a break from the norm, plan your next vacation around one of these 10 duathlons and duathlon series.

London Duathlon

london duathlon

Considered the world’s largest duathlon, the London Duathlonattracts more than 2,000 athletes each year. Choose from its standard distance (10K-44K-5K), go long with the ultra du (20K-77K-10K) or du something shorter with the Half Duathlon or Relay.

Expect some climbing on both the run and bike courses, all held within Richmond Park in southwest London. September 16, 2018. @londonduathlon

Winter Ballbuster

 

As if climbing Box Hill five times isn’t tough enough, you get to “du” it in November.

The longest-running, most arduous UK duathlon, Winter Ballbusterlives up to its name with a hilly 8-mile, 24-mile, 8-mile course.

Set in the Box Hill National Trust Site, in Surry, about 19 miles outside of London, the event challenges newcomers and professionals alike. “To finish the race entitles you to hold your head high,” writes Matt Baird for 220Triathlon. November 3, 2018.

Storm the Castle Duathlon

Set in Ludlow, Shropshire (that’s in England) Storm the Castlefinishes inside Ludlow Castle. Pretty cool, eh?

The 10K-33K-5K course offers plenty of climbing along the way. Why visit Ludlow? This tour guidesays it’s a beautiful foodie town with a rich history. April 2019.

Powerman International

Some of the most competitive and best-known duathlons fall under the Powermanumbrella. Du one for fun or to compete against the best in the world.

Powerman Int’l has its own rankings system, which gives you another way to qualify for the ITU Long-Distance World Duathlon Championship in Zofingen, Switzerland. Powerman also hosts the European Championships.

You can find Powermans in Germany, Denmark, Austria, Brazil, Panama and the Philippines, among other countries, including this one. Distances vary from 10K-60K-10K to 5K-30K-5K. Year-round.

Krusnoman Long Distance Duathlon

Got your sights set on a trip to Prague? Plan it around the Krusnoman Duathlon, a long, mountainous 5K-80K-15K about 80 kilometers outside of the Czech Republic’s capital city. You can experience leg- and lung-searing joy of 2,200 meters of climbing and then hobble around Prague’s Old Town Square. May 12, 2018. @Krusnoman

Kyaninga Duathlon

Duathlons aren’t limited to North America and Europe. Uganda, Africa, hosts the Kyaninga Duathlon—part of a weeklong adventure that includes a boat safari, trekking with chimpanzees and a race. Along the 4.5K-16.5K-4.5K course, you’ll ride through Ugandan villages and run in the foothills of the UNESCO Rwenzori Mountains. Before and after, you’ll stay in Kyaninga Lodge in Fort Portal. I just found out about this race and I am intrigued! May 19, 2018.

Powerman Zofingen

I know I already talked about the Powerman series, but Zofingenis iconic enough to get a spot all its own. Considered the duathlon equivalent of the Ironman World Championships, Powerman Zofingen is considered the most prestigious and toughest duathlon in the world. It’s also the ITU Long Course World Championship.

The course starts with a hilly 10K forested run, followed by a 150K bike and a 30K run. Both hilly. If you search around, you can find numerous race reports that describe just how hilly and how long this race is. My eyes are burning from a day at the computer, so I’ll let you tackle the almighty Google. September 1-2, 2018.@PM_Zofingen

Kirkistown and Bishopscourt Race Track Duathlons

If you want to go fast, and you want to visit Northern Ireland, check out these full-track sprint and longer-distance duathlons. From the looks of it, you run and ride on an actual racetrack.

If you don’t feel like riding around in circles, visit NI Duathlonfor a list of duathlons throughout the region. @niduathlon

VeloPark Duathlon

Here’s another race series around a track. The VeloPark Duathlon series takes place on a closed-road circuit around the 2012 Olympic Velodrome. These low cost events take place all year, so you can easily fit one into your London vacation. @Velopark_Dua

Bayside Duathlon

I’m getting a little heavy on the UK events, but since this one says it was voted “Best UK Duathlon” in 2016, I’ll give it a mention.Held along Stokes Bay, in Gosport, and the Lee-on-the-Solent sea front, Bayside Duathlonincludes both a sprint (5K-20K-5K) and a super-sprint (2.5K-10K-2.5K), both flat.

Gosport is a port town with 24 miles of waterfront, beaches and watersports. It also looks like you’re pretty close to South Downs Natural Park. November 4.@BaysideDuathlon

Know of any other great international races? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Michael Fox, Flickr

Race Recap – Duathlon de Boucherville, Quebec Championships and Coupe du Quebec Finale

Lessons learned at Long Distance Duathlon Worlds

Originally posted on alistaireeckmantriathlete:
The Long-Distance Duathlon World Championships was unique course and the toughest race I’ve ever done. It was not just the distance that made this race tough, but also the terrain. The race started with a 10km (6.2mi) run, then 150km (92mi) bike, and finished with a 30km (18.6mi) run. The race…

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