Ironman announced today the addition of its first event in Kazakhstan, the Ironman 70.3 Astana Kazakhstan triathlon. The inaugural race will take place on June 18, 2018 and marks Ironman’s first entry into Central Asia. Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country and the dominant economic force in the region.
The new race will be held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, a city of one million inhabitants located at the Ishim River. Astana is the country’s second largest city after Almaty with 1.7 million inhabitants.
“Long-distance triathlon is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and our country is no exception. We are ready for the next stage of developing the sport under the Ironman brand. I wish fair wind and light feet to everyone and let the best win,” said Karim Massimov, President of the Triathlon Federation of Kazakhstan.
Known for its rich history and diverse geography – the size of the country equals that of Western Europe – Kazakhstan is also famous for the city of Baikonur, which has the world’s oldest and largest operational space launch facility.
“We are excited to open a new chapter in the global development of Ironman,” said Hans-Peter Zurbruegg, Managing Director of Ironman Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Our first event in Central Asia will allow us to bring the Ironman experience to a new country and a new region and we are looking forward to working with a highly skilled and experience team in Astana.”
“Triathlon is a sport that promotes a healthy lifestyle and is an excellent test to prove, primarily for yourself, that you can do more than you could ever imagine. We invite athletes from all over the world to experience the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Astana in our capital,” said Nurlan Abduov of the Kazakh Geographic Society which owns and will operate the new event.
Athletes will begin their race with a single-loop 1.9-km (1.2-mile) swim in the Ishim river. Start and finish of the swim course will be located at the aptly named Astana Triathlon Park. The water temperature is expected to be between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius during race week.
Athletes will then continue onto the two-loop 90.1-km (56-mile) bike course which will lead through the modern architecture of the Astana government district which includes the President’s palace and the Parliament. Parts of the bike course will lead along the Ishim river. The race will finish with a three-loop 21.1-km (13.1-mile) run course at the Astana Triathlon Park.
Ironman 70.3 Astana will offer 50 age-group qualifying slots for the 2018 Ironmn 70.3 World Championship being held in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.