The Samui Triathlon 2013 featured more than 200 competitors from 22 countries choosing to take on the gruelling 4km swim, 123km cycling and 30km run.
The Koh Samui Triathlon is always a big draw for sun-toughened athletes. The trend continued in 2013 as Samui continues to develop its reputation as a top sporting destination in addition to a holiday hotspot. This year the Samui Triathlon loomed larger and drew more participants from all over the world than ever before.
The Samui sports scene has been particularly strong in attracting cycling, kitesurfing, scuba diving enthusiasts, as well as the massively popular Muay Thai boxing due to it being one of the core disciplines in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts).
But the annual Samui Triathlon has now become an established event on the world sports circuit drawing competitors from all continents and big name sponsors including Thai Airways, Singha Corporation and Bangkok Airways, contributing to its exposure to a global TV audience via Euro Sport, Sports Plus and TV5 Monde, as well as local Thai channels covering the action.
And, why not? Other than the prize money of course, a whopping 4 million Thai Baht, there’s gorgeous scenery, warm tranquil waters and an army of friendly and helpful supporters…a great place to relax and recuperate after finishing…if triathlon participants have it in them.
Held between the end of April and the beginning of May every year, the event is a great highlight for island regulars and visitors alike. At the height of summer in Koh Samui, competitors not used to the extreme conditions will feel it. With Samui’s Bangkok Hospital serving as co-sponsor, help is always close by should any participants succumb to the harsh environment.
The Samui Triathlon 2013 kicked off with a gruelling 4km swim, which blasted off from Bophut beach this year and takes triathlon swimmers around some of SE Asia’s nicest waters. With no ‘big fish’ worries here and lower seasonal and early-day tides, the course had a doubled 2km circuit. The handicapped took the lead, with men breaking the surface around 7:30 AM.
The 123km/76m bicycling segment winds around the island’s lovely roads, taking triathlon ‘spokespeople’ through some of the best palm tree and coconut plantation areas of this tropical paradise. Several challenging hills present real work for cyclists, but they toughed it out.
The running segment of 30km/19mi surely pushed contestants, with water being liberally handed out and quaffed. Lines of supporters’ cheers encouraged the iron triathletes to grit their teeth and push on, as their pictures were snapped constantly by motorbike riders out of the race zone, and it made for a fantastic day.
Men’s winner, Australian Courtney Atkinson, with a time of 6hrs and 18 seconds, led an international pastiche of tough, serious and much admired athletes. Fellow Aussie Ben Allen arrived a little over 5 minutes later at 6:05:22.
In the women’s race another Aussie, Melissa Hauschildt, added to her incredible list of wins in triathlon. The former Commonwealth Games 3000m Steeplchase Silver medallist finished ahead of Brit Liz Blatchford to claim first prize.
What a fantastic day and a fantastic group of competitors. We hope to see you all next year in 2014!