After introducing the Challenge Family series to China in Anhui last year, the global series has added another event to the series – Challenge Wuhan, which will take place on May 24, 2020.
Challenge Family appears to be taking advantage of Ironman’s introduction of long-distance racing to China after the Florida-based company was taken over by China’s Dalian Wanda Group in 2015. Ironman has put on four 70.3 events in China over the years including Liuzhou, Shanghai Chongming, Xi’an and Xiamen. Ironman.com lists dates for the first two events on its 2020 schedule, with the dates for Xi’an and Xiamen listed as TBD. Ironman’s numbers for its China events are small by the company’s normal standards – the largest event in 2019 was Xiamen with 1,430 athletes, followed by Shanghai Chongming with 1,195, Liuzhou with 847 and Xi’an with 654. (Those numbers come from sportstats.ca and are based on the number of finishers for each race.) Deciphering the Challenge Anhui results (which aren’t easy to find) isn’t nearly as simple, but the event announced that it had 1,200 athletes compete in the various events in its debut.
Both Ironman and Challenge Family must see a burgeoning market in China, which is why Challenge Family will host two events in the country in 2020, according to a release sent out this morning. The new event in Wuhan will feature middle- and standard-distance races, along with a “junior challenge” race.
The swim will take place in Mulan Lake in “clear-as-a-mirror” waters, followed by a scenic, traffic-free bike ride that takes athletes around the lake on a bike path and though the Mulanshan Scenic Area. The middle-distance race will feature two laps on the bike, while the standard-distance race will include one loop.
According to the event’s website, Challenge Anhui attracted over 300,000 spectators last year. This year’s event, which will take place on Sept. 20, will include a full-distance race, a half-distance race along with a women’s road race and junior race. The new race in Wuhan is likely to attract similar crowds, one would imagine, since it’s based in a city with a population of over 11 million.