Over the next several months we'll crisscross the globe and feature the 10 Most Interesting and Unusual:
- Marathons (Friday Feature)
- Triathlons (Monday Feature)
- Swims (Tuesday Feature)
- Rides & Bike Races (Wednesday Feature)
Our goal is to travel the world with you in search of the most unusual, fun, and interesting races from Peoria to Peking.
Today we travel to New Zealand for the second oldest Ironman race in the World. Most people know that the Ironman began in Hawaii, but what they may not know is that 25-year-ago not only did the Ironman race travel to Kona, on the big Island of Hawaii, it also moved to the two island country of New Zealand.
But before we take you to this historic race, it is our great introduce our newest partner: Ken Glah's Endurance Sports Travel.
Our feature World's 10 most Interesting & Unusual races---Triathlon is presented by Endurance Sports Travel who offer complete travel packages to Ironman New Zealand, Ironman South Africa, Ironman China and Ironman 70.3 China, Ironman Brazil, Ironman France, Ironman Germany, Ironman Austria, Ironman Switzerland, Ironman Wisconsin, Ironman Hawaii, Ironman Florida along with slots to many of these sold out races
Perhaps the best way to get to know the second oldest race on the Ironman calendar is to watch the interesting video below:
This year's race, which will take place on March 7th 2009, is almost sold out.
However, to get a real feel of the race you may want to read this fun and somewhat painful race report from last year's race by Adam Rakunas.
1st leg of swim: Cold! Wet! Are my wetsuit armpits leaking? Jebus, it’s crowded out here. I’m gonna freeze up if we don’t go OH MY GOD THE CANNON WE’RE OFF. I hope I won’t have to thaw out in the changing tent before I get on the…hey, is that the first turn buoy? Already? Sweet!
2nd leg: I need to pee. Christ Almighty, I can feel my bladder expanding to dangerous proportions, but I can’t make myself urinate while I swim. Do I stop? God, I can’t stop, I’m doing so well. But, argh! To hell with it! I’m stopping to pee, and…oh, wow. That is the best. Let’s bring this home!
Swim Exit: Dude, did I just do that in 1:22? RAWK. Doh, must keep upright while I run up the carpet. Good on ya, mate, that’s all I hear. Confirm that I tore both armpits in my wetsuit.
T1: Nah, I’m not going to need my knee warmers. The sun will come out soon. This is just a little overcast.
1st 20km: I feel so saucy right now. I am going to rock this ride.
2nd 20km: Hey, is that rain?
Remainder of 1st leg to Reporoa (the turnaround): Cold. Wet. Cold. Wet. Working on two serious soakers. NZ roads are made of pebbles embedded in tar, which means entire ride is like holding onto a broken Magic Fingers bed at a cheap motel. Headwinds out mean tailwinds home, right? Whose stupid idea was this, anyway? Hey, there’s Scott, there’s Anna Wills, there’s a bunch of other LA Tri people. All heading back to Taupo. Crap.
Reparoa: Oh, thank you God.
1st leg home: Sing Muse’s Knights of Cydonia entire way as tailwinds almost make up for the fact that it’s still raining. Get lapped by Kieran Doe, the bike leader. Cool.
1st pass through town: This entire crowd yells its guts out for me. That is so cool, I’m gonna get out of the saddle and drive. Hey, the announcer sees that and is saying as much! “It’s Adam Rakunas, from California, out of the saddle and working hard.” You got that right, baby. And there are my friends who came to watch me! Yay! Collect armband and head out for second lap.
95 k out: Man, my front tire feels squishy. That can’t be good. Oh, hell, I’ve flatted! Must stay calm, must relax, I can fix a flat…dude, I just flatted in front of the bike techs! They swap my tube out, pump it up with a floor pump, and I’m en route. Yay!
2nd leg out: Oh. Right. Rain and headwinds. Great. And now I get to go up this giant hill behind the racetrack. This is pretty cool country, even though it’s wet and windy.
130 km in: Where in God’s name is Reporoa? And when will my keister stop hurting?
Reporoa: Oh, thank Buddha. Collect armband 2, the one that says I get to go straight back to town without climbing that big hill behind the racetrack again.
The rest of the way back to town: Get out of saddle, try to flex out legs and back. Can’t stay aero for long, even with these tailwinds. Have played do-si-do with same people several times, and all of the aid stations on the other side have packed up. Still a few straggler volunteers and cheerers. God, I want this to end. When this is over, I will dedicate myself to everything I’ve neglected since I started training: the garden, my writing, working for The Children. So tired. Still wet and cold, and now angry. I am angry that I might not make it back in time because the weather is giving me an excuse to slow down. To hell with that: I am going to get back to town long before the cutoff, do the run, go back to America, and work for The Children.
T2: 4:45pm ish. Thank you, Vishnu. Off the bike. Manage to keep my shoes clipped in and stagger in stocking feet to tent. Out of my wet clothes and into dries. Lady at T2 aid station: “Do you want some water? You don’t want to dehydrate out there.” Me, looks up at sprinkling sky: “Are you kidding me?”
5pm. Cross overpass bridge over Lake Terrace, start reading card Anne (who couldn’t make it to New Zealand because her stupid clients’ shareholders keep insisting on things like “accountability” and “financial responsibility”) gave me for my T2 bag. Try desperately not to cry at how awesome she is. See the gang again, this time with a sign that has picture of Anne with a “Go Adam!” word balloon. Try desperately not to cry again.
Up Tongariro Road, which borders the park that has the finish line: I really want to run for these people, but my knees are killing me. Hm, maybe if I hadn’t been a macho idiot and had worn my knee warmers on the ride, I’d feel a lot better.
5k in: I make a buddy. Ryan is a quantity surveyor from Hastings, about 30k away from Taupo. We walk and talk for the next 10k. He says our pace is right on for bringing it in. I’m not convinced. Somewhere along the line, I start swinging my arms as I walk. I actually outpace Ryan and leave him behind. I feel bad about this for all of 100 meters.
Tongariro, 2nd time: All of these people cheer like I’m done, but I’ve still got another 22k to go. It’s now dark, and I am scared that I am going to die in this foreign country with its wrong-way driving and hobbit-sized showerheads, and won’t see my wife beforehand. I want to pack it in, damn the consequences. Then I look at the time: it’s 8.20pm, and I’ve just cleared 22k. It took me 3:10 to go 20k, ten more minutes to do the second 2k. Holy crap, I just might make this if I keep it up. Refill my fuel belt at an aid station, where a volunteer asks, “Are you all right?” “Just bloody exhausted,” I say, “You gonna pull me?” “No way!” says the volunteer, “You might punch me!”
9pm: Now feeling The Fear again. Thinking about walking up to ambulance and saying that I’m done and want to go home and don’t give a toss about finishing this race. Have a CarbBoom and outlook improves.
Rainbow Drive: The crowds are still in their pavilion tents, their tables littered with empty booze bottles. One guy says, “You’d better pick up that pace, mate.” “This is all I’ve got,” I reply, walking past with arms swinging. He doesn’t express his opinion again when I return.
Get a clear plastic poncho from a volunteer, whom I hug like she’s just given me a lifetime supply of tacos. The poncho makes me look like a piece of dry-cleaning flapping away in the wind, which has now picked up. Oh, and the rain is still going, too.
Click HERE to read the rest of the report.
"I have competed at Ironman New Zealand 12 times since 1990. Many
of those were in Auckland and a few have been since the event moved to
Taupo which I think was a great change. The race and town atmosphere
is similar to the highly popular Ironman Canada. Taupo is a small town
with incredible tourism infrastructure and community support that make
the week before the event a great experience. All Ironman races are
the same distance but what sets them apart is the race management, the
course, the community support and atmosphere as well as activities in
the area and the region. Ironman New Zealand stands high in all these
areas. That is why in my 23 years of doing Ironman races all over the
world I have raced Ironman New Zealand more times than any other event
except Hawaii. Athletes owe it to themselves and their family to
experience this great race and all the wonderful things there are to do
in Taupo and other areas of New Zealand. On March 3, 2007 I plan to be
on the starting line once again and I hope you will join me."
Ken Glah - Ironman Legend , 50 times Ironman Finsiher, owner of Ironman Brazil and Endurance Sports Travel, husband and father.