If you’ve every chalked up endurance sports as being reserved for masochists, it’s time to re-evaluate that concept. No doubt that IRONMAN Triathlons are among the ultimate swim-bike-run challenges.
Rooted in Hawaii, the notion for the original IRONMAN Triathlon was devised during the awards ceremony of the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay when Mid-Pacific Road Runners and Waikiki Swim Club participants debated which group’s athletes were the fittest.
Tossing cyclists into the conversation, U.S. Navy Commander John Collins suggested that the argument be settled through a race that would merge a trio of long-distance competitions already taking place on the island – the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim 115-mile Around-Oahu Bike Race and 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon.
Today, the grueling IRONMAN format pitting participants against the clock, elements and other elite athletes has tweaked the bike distance slightly to 112 miles. A select number of age group qualifying slots are awarded for the epic IRONMAN World Championship that’s held each October in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island.
A more civilized 70.3-mile version (1.2 + 56 + 13.1 miles = 70.3 miles) allows fitness enthusiasts to tackle that trio at half distances. Fortunately for fans of Mexico, the country features both in annual competitions throughout the country.
To push it to the limit – or to cheer on others while they do – visit IronmanMexico.com for details on competitions held in Los Cabos, Cozumel, Campeche and Monterrey. While Los Cabos features a full and 70.3-mile version that follows the same route but covers only half the distances, Campeche and Monterrey offer only the latter.
Each website link provides specifics on routes, hotel packages and how to best transport bicycles to the destination. The site also caters to supporters and fans with information on VIP lounges and “hot spots” that are primo for viewing athletes in action.
When planning a visit to any of the four locations, be sure to book flights and accommodations early since triathletes and supporters plan travel well in advance.
Cozumel – Nov. 27, 2016
Famous worldwide for its coral reefs, Isla Cozumel is home to a bevy of coveted natural attractions including the iconic Chankanaab National Park and Punta Sur Ecological Reserve. A massive protected area at the southern tip of the island, the latter includes Punta Celarain and its historical lighthouse, as well as the Colombia Lagoon that’s a shelter for many of the island’s endemic species and other endangered forms of life.
The IRONMAN Cozumel swim course is a point-to-point ocean challenge fringing the Mesoamerican Reef system. November’s water temperature is typically around a pleasant 80.5F.
From Chankanaab Water Park, swimmers stroke past Chankanaab Pier and work their way back to the exit at Chankanaab Park. The bike section requires three counter clockwise laps along a flat, paved road starting at the Chankanaab parking lot and finishing at Cozumel’s City Hall. Due to the strong cross winds during a portion of the bike segment, disc wheels are strictly forbidden.
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The three-lap run course is a flat and paved road passing such signature sites as the island’s waterfront walk, main plaza in downtown and historic neighborhoods before culminating in front of City Hall within the main plaza.
Among IRONMAN Cozumel host hotels are Casa Del Mar Cozumel, Melia Cozumel, Allegro Cozumel All Inclusive, Grand Park Royal Cozumel, Hotel Sunscape Sabor Cozumel, Occidental Grand Cozumel, Hotel Iberostar and Hotel Cozumel.
At Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa, special IRONMAN rates on European Plan (room only) range from $262USD nightly for pool view to $458 for an ocean suite. These exclusive rates are available three days prior and three days post event.
Package perks include bike mechanical service, complimentary transportation from the hotel to transition area, private/secure training open swim course, customized meals, preferential rates on sport massages and free access to spa wet areas.
Campeche – March 19, 2017
Occupying the western third of the Yucatán Peninsula, the State of Campeche is a triathlete’s dream since it is almost entirely flat. Visitors are drawn to the low-key charm displayed through its colonial port with naval history, massive Mayan ceremonial centers and wild jungle reserves. With fascinating cultural and ecological attractions, this “back roads” Mexico experience was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
IRONMAN 70.3 events roll out in settings off the Campeche Country Club and along the coastal highway. All host hotels offer complimentary mechanical service for participants, plus free ground transportation to and from the race site for athletes, families and friends during bike check-in and race day.
Campeche’s host hotels include Casa Don Gustavo, Ocean View Hotel, Hotel Plaza Campeche, Hotel Plaza Colonial, Hotel Carlos V and Francis Drake Hotel.
Located a few steps from the city’s historical downtown and near the seacoast, the boutique Hotel Del Paseo Campeche blends colonial architectural with such modern touches as air conditioning, TV, room service, lounge, and restaurant serving both regional and international specialties. Based on designated occupancy, nightly rates are from $39 for a single room to $52 for a quadruple room. Suites are $56 nightly. For bookings, contact email@example.com.
Monterrey – May 14, 2017
Monterrey is a city where modern architecture meets historic buildings. The Macroplaza and Metropolitan Cathedral dating back to the 18th-century contrast with the Faro de Comercio (Lighthouse of Commerce) that lights up with its famous green laser beam visible throughout the city.
A perfect venue for newbies or those a bit nervous about open water, the swim rolls out at Paseo Santa Lucia. This 1.25-mile wave-free environment with 100 percent visibility is considered even friendlier with a water temperature hovering around 77F.
Beginning and ending in downtown Monterrey at the Macroplaza next to the Governor's Office Building, the fast and nearly flat bike course requires two laps along the express lane of Constitucion Freeway.
The two-lap running route is flat and paved with only a few stairs going out of transition. Also starting and finishing at the Macroplaza, it travels along Santa Lucia River walk and inside the city’s Fundidora Park.
For a list of host hotels, click on the map at ironman703monterrey.com/wordpress/index.php/host-hotel.
Los Cabos – Oct. 29, 2017
It was a Halloween treat for an international roster of world-class athletes striving to be their best where the sea, desert and mountains merge at Land’s End. On Oct. 30, 2016, Los Cabos hosted IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 competitions in the same beautiful, dramatic Baja, Mexico setting that has attracted leisure travelers for decades.
Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez Cruz took 70.3 first place honors by clocking a time of 3:57:17, while fellow countryman, Luis Fernando Pelcastre Rabanal, broke the full IRONMAN tape with an overall time of 9:45:35.
Set for October 29, the route should remain much the same for the 2017 competition – a swim through azure Sea of Cortez waters beginning at Playa Palmilla, and multiple-lap ride and marathon along the 20-mile corridor linking Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.
Check IronmanMexico.com for updates on special packages offered by such 2016 host hotels as Barcelo Grand Faro, Royal Decameron, Hotel Posada Real Los Cabos, Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar, Hyatt Place and Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton.