IM 70.3 Salalah race report

On paper it looked like an easy race…

The problem is 70.3s are not raced on pieces of paper. In theory this was the perfect race to get ready for the upcoming Dubai season. Train during the summer and then a nice little trip down to Salalah. The flights should be easy, sheltered swim, flat bike and an easy run with the action at the race hotel. What could possibly go wrong… PBs all the way. Well, that’s what the brochure said!

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Having spent 8 hours to get from checking in at DXB Terminal 3, negotiating a few Fly Dubai baggage hoops, to walking into the accommodation it was already appearing not as straight forward as it first seemed. All the chatter on the transit bus was that the water temperature had been tested at 27 degrees meaning that wet suits would probably not be permitted. Should have packed the swim skin!

The Fanar hotel is the perfect race hotel. My room overlooked the swim start and it was less than 100m to the transition zones. Cool. The buffets in the hotel were well stocked with all your triathlon favorites.

I should have realized when I rolled the bike out of the hotel at 07:30AM on the day before the race to be met by waves of heat and humidity and a stiff breeze that this was stacking up to be a long and tough day in the office. The bike reccy lulled me into a false sense of security; a smooth road surface and a gentle rolling hill indicated that this was going to be a very fast outward leg with a strong tailwind and a headwind on the return journey. The one thing that strikes you about Salalah is how green it is.. Yorkshire Dales with camels? The course hugs the coast with wide open sandy  beaches and white spray mist hanging in the air. Conclusion: Full gaz on the outward leg and grind it out on the return. 

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Race day dawns with the expected announcement that it will not be a wet suit swim as the water temperature is measured by the race referee at 28 degrees. Not even close! Beep, Beep Beep and off we go 5 at a time into the murky lagoon. It would have been helpful to have a few more buoys for sighting purposes in the outer lagoon but overall, an uneventful swim. Out onto the bike and with the wind on our backs we feel like Olympic time trialists hitting speeds of 40 kmph and over. There are a some gradual climbs on the way out giving spectacular views of the coast on our right hand side, and super fast downhill stretches. Must be on for a PB here as we turn around in just over an hour! It did seem slightly strange that for the last 5km of the outward leg the returning cyclists all seemed to be stood still with their race numbers horizontally flapping in the breeze. Oh dear, as soon as we turned around, the wind was full on and the return leg was a most miserable 45 km into a very stiff headwind which did not permit much over 30km per hour for long stretches. And those rolling hills became rolling uphill’s into the wind. By 10:00AM the sun was high overhead ready to beat down on the runners as they completed the two-loop course. 


One has to say that the aid stations on the run were really well staffed and always had ice cold water and ice to hand. Thank you to the race organisers and the volunteers who did an amazing job across the whole weekend.


Finally, down the red carpet for the finish line feels. Always a great moment when all the sweat, suffering, pain and pee down your legs seems worth it after all. The suffering quickly forgotten over a few beers at the awards ceremony. When is the next one?


TriDubai swept to first place in the Tri Club Championships and great to see so many athletes from the GCC traveling to Salalah to compete. 

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First female was TriDubai’s Lea Lindschoft who had the most amazing race. 

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By David Hunt, and Certified TriSutto Coach

Posted on 27th Sep 2022