Ever fancied your chances as an all-round athlete? Kelly Crane delves into the city’s triathlon scene to find out what it takes.
Anyone can be a triathlete, especially in the UAE. A jam-packed events schedule for the next few months, from short super-sprints to epic Ironman distance, perfect conditions most of the year and uber-supportive clubs and athletes, means it almost seems rude not to get involved.
‘There are loads of events: triathlon, swim, cycling and running, out there in the Emirates,’ says Ian Le Pelley, co-founder of TriDubai. ‘If you’re a racing junkie, you should be able to compete at one event or another pretty much every weekend outside during the summer months.’
TriDubai is a non-profit organisation founded to serve and support triathletes of all abilities in Dubai. Whether training for sprint (750m swim/20km bike/5km run) or Ironman races (anything upwards of a really long swim/ridiculous 100km bike and even crazier marathon run), those starting out, starting again or wanting to break records, TriDubai offers something for everyone.
‘We’re an all-encompassing club for an all-encompassing sport,’ says Le Pelley. ‘There are very few sports where you get out exactly what you put in. With a triathlon you can constantly improve in strength, technique or stamina. It’s limitless.’
In just 18 months TriDubai has exploded from just 30-40 sports people to more than 900 Facebook members and the team always welcomes new faces.
‘We want to encourage anyone who is keen to try a triathlon – even if you have never done anything like it before. Our ethos is one of inclusivity and enjoyment – we want to help people get the most out of the sport, but have lots of fun in the process.’
Training sessions are inclusive and for all abilities – and are also completely free of charge. From Sunday group runs, Monday morning sea swims and group rides, it’s easy to get involved.
‘There’s few places which enjoy such fantastic weather,’ says Le Pelley. ‘For nine months of the year we get perfect training conditions including for open-water swimming. There are no grotty swimming pools for us in Dubai.’
Run entirely by volunteers, TriDubai lists events from companies and organisations across the UAE. However, the team also holds its own series, which starts on October 12 in memory of Arab champion triathlete Roy Nasr who died last month when he was hit by a car near Safa Park.
‘Roy was a fantastic triathlete,’ says Le Pelley of his friend and training partner. ‘He represented Lebanon in the 2006 Asian Games, the 2010 Ironman 70.3 World Championships, and in the 2011 Sprint Distance World Age Group Championships in China where he took third place in his age group. He was an incredibly dedicated athlete. He never missed a training session. He lived the sport.’ Membership is free by joining the TriDubai Facebook page. Visit www.tridubai.org for info.
The Roy Nasr Memorial Super Sprint and Sprint Triathlon This event takes place on Saturday, October 12 2013 at Jebel Ali Golf Resort. Distances are 375m swim/10km bike/2.5km run or 750m swim/20km bike/5km run. Visit www.race-me-events.com
Super Sports Aquathon Series This series starts on Saturday November 9 at Mina ‘A’ Salam Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah at 7am. Races are 500m swim/10km run; 750m swim/5km run; 200m swim/2.5km run. Visit www.supersportsdubai.com
The Wadi Adventure Aquathon This event is a great place to start. A 400m swim in the lake at the Al Ain waterpark is followed by a 2.5km run and the course is completed twice if you’re feeling up to it. The race starts at 7am and is open to individuals or teams of all standards. Visit www.premiermarathons.com