Set in the beautiful old town of Cartagena, a Unesco World Heritage site, the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Cartagena is set to go on December 4, 2016. While the event is sure to attract many Colombians, athletes from other countries will look to wrap up their race year at this beautiful destination.
Triathlon Magazine Canada editor Kevin Mackinnon was at today’s press conference and will have more on Cartagena as a destination spot next week, but here’s a quick primer on what might make this event worth the trip from Canada. One of the race organizers of the event, Wilbur Anderson (furthest right in the photo), will be known to many avid triathletes through his involvement with Ironman 70.3 Miami and the Miami International Triathlon.
Set on the north-western part of South America, Cartagena enjoys some great water activities in the warm Caribbean waters. Whether you want to hang out on the beach or take in some of the excellent diving, Cartagena offers a great beach getaway for the family either before or after the race. What makes this even more of an interesting destination is the chance to take in the history and culture of this former Spanish enclave. The old city is surrounded by nine km of walls (two km were destroyed by one of Cartagena’s previous mayors) that took two hundred years to complete after construction began in the 17th century. Within that old city now are numerous boutique hotels, stylish restaurants and trendy cafes and bars, so every night during your trip can offer a unique dining experience. You can also take in a completely different style of accommodation further south Bocagrande, a modern, upscale part of the city that offers its own unique dining and hotel options.
The race will take in many of the sites of the city, starting with a 1.9 km swim in Bahía de las Ánimas, a protected bay near the old town. The Convention Centre will host the expo and registration, and also serve as the perfect spot to watch the entire swim. The water is warm, about 80º Fahrenheit (28º Celsius), so wetsuits won’t be needed. The transition will be in the Camellón de los Mártires Square in front of Cartagena’s iconic clock tower, La Torre del Reloj. The 90 km bike ride takes athletes to the Via al Mar, a highway that connects Cartagena to Barranquilla, taking in some spectacular beach vistas. The two-loop run course goes through the old city and along the waterfront.
The race will be a hot one – temperatures were in the 30s today with very high humidity, which we’re told is normal for this time of year in Cartagena. If you’re looking for a destination race with lots of vacation possibilities for everyone in the family, Ironman 70.3 Cartagena might be worth a look.