Lanzarote limbers up for Iron Man 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 1:03 PM

The Iron Man Lanzarote event is widely regarded as the toughest nut to crack by many triathletes (photo: James Mitchell)

The Iron Man Lanzarote event is widely regarded as the toughest nut to crack by many triathletes (photo: James Mitchell)

Lanzarote is limbering up for the annual Iron Man triathlon in May, which is widely regarded as one of the toughest events of its kind on the planet. All of the action is taking place on May 19th and Nick Ball from the villa rental site Holiday Villas in Lanzarote talks us through what tourists can expect from this gruelling fitness challenge.

Competitors have to endure a 3.8 km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride, polished off with a full 42.2km marathon. All of which has to be completed in baking hot conditions.

Sound like your idea of hell? Best just sit back and soak up the action then, as over 1600 competitors descend on the small Canary Island of Lanzarote to battle it out in the 21st edition of this amazing endurance event.

Lanzarote will pretty much come to a standstill on Iron Man day, with many roads closed off in order to ensure unimpeded access for these top triathletes.

This year’s field is headed by two time champion Bert Jammaer from Belgium, who is seeking to repeat his twin 2008 and 2009 triumphs. He will be facing stiff competition though as Brit Stephen Bayliss and the Czech Petr Vabrousek seek to prevent him from lifting the title again and completing a record breaking hat trick of victories.

There´s a $25,000 prize purse up for grabs, as well as qualifying places for the overall Iron Man grand final, which will be held in Hawaii later this year.

But the Iron Man Lanzarote event is widely regarded as the toughest nut to crack by many triathletes, thanks to the island´s challenging volcanic terrain and warm weather conditions. This usually makes for a fascinating contest and around 10% of the entrants never even get to see the finishing line.

Armchair-athletes should head for Puerto del Carmen, which is the oldest and largest resort on Lanzarote. This is where the swimming stage gets underway from 07.00 before the competitors clamber onto their bikes. They then return to Puerto del Carmen at around 12.45 to complete a full marathon along the beachfront Avenida de la Playa, with entrants all hoping to beat the current course record of just over 8 hours and 30 minutes which was set last year by the German Timo Bracht.

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