Destination races… My favourite kind of race. I have only done a couple (so far), but I have enjoyed each one and with new races popping up around the globe continuously why not combine your next race with a holiday?
5 top reasons why I love destination races…
1. The Destination Itself
If you are going suffer, why not suffer in paradise? Depending on your preferences you could choose glacier topped mountains, tropical islands or rolling countrysides. If you’re going to swim, bike and run for hours upon end you may as well see a destination on your bucket list. If you do an Ironman or even 70.3 you’ll see a fair bit of the destination on your bike ride and might not even need to book a scenic tour whilst you’re there.
2. Annual Leave
For long course races in particular you will need time off work to race, regardless of the location, so you may as well use your annual leave entitlements wisely. I work 12 hour shifts on my feet, so it’s not ideal for race tapering or post-race recovery, so taking leave for an Ironman would involve more than just one or two days off, no matter where it was. Why not spend the taper on a tropical island sipping electrolytes out of a cocktail glass as opposed to experiencing taper crazies at home. Likewise afterwards, the day after an Ironman EVERYTHING hurts. You are going to want to be somewhere nice for that, it will take your mind off the pain.
3. You will make new friends.
If you are racing abroad, I can (almost) guarantee you will meet new friends (I put the almost in there because life’s what you make it, sit in your hotel room like a hermit and you wont meet anyone except the housekeeper). But if you’re social and friendly, you’ll make new friends, but just a warning, my experience is that they will probably be from your own country. When I raced the Sunshine Coast 70.3 I didn’t meet anyone new in the lead up over the common fact that we were both racing in my hometown. However at my very first tri in Bali the Aussie contingent was huge, we didn’t know anyone on arrival but met fellow Darwinites at the carb loading dinner and became friends, they spurred us on to join the Darwin Tri Club when we returned. Then when I raced Ironman Cozumel, I met up a great couple from Australia who were racing, and during Ironman Malaysia we met lots of fellow Aussies throughout race week and even on race day and have become friends.
4. Your family will actually look forward to you racing.
They get a holiday too! Your spouse/partner/family has listened to you talk swim sets, nutrition, watts, blisters and run pacing for months… Chances are you have spent less time with them than desirable whilst training for your race. Chances also are that you’ve woken them up at the crack of dawn every day, no matter how quietly you think you creep out the door. Reward them with a holiday and they might start to look forward to your big day as much as you.
5. You might qualify for the 70.3 World Championships.
OK so this isn’t why I race abroad, but if you do want to qualify for the upcoming 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championships on the Sunshine Coast you might want to consider an overseas race. People in the US and Europe are assumingly less likely to accept the spots than people racing Australian 70.3 races, especially late in the season. Therefore if the spots aren’t accepted they will roll down or be redistributed amongst other age groups, consider it a back door entry to repping your country at the Worlds.
Now please excuse me whilst I get back to ironman.com to decide on my 2016 plan of attack, then look into my crystal ball with the hope of seeing this weeks lotto numbers… This sport aint cheap, even without destination races!