The third annual Ironman China and Ironman China 70.3 will be held on March 14, 2010. The month-earlier date than previous years provides two big advantages for the event: better weather and a date that no longer conflicts with the Boao Forum, a very high profile economic summit that commands significant time and attention from the local government.
“After two years of unbelievably bad luck with the elements we thought a change of date might be good for our weather-karma” said Race Director, Tinny Tung. An early March date dramatically decreases the chances for a hot race day. Typical temperatures for March in Hainan Island are in the balmy low-20s compared to the mid to high-30s that the race has endured for the past two years.
“The Boao Forum rightly has been a major distraction for the city particularly last year when we were scheduled for the same weekend”, said Tung. “ The city requested that we move out of Forum time frame and after considering a multitude of factors, such as the weather, Chinese New Year, the city’s calendar and other factors, early March was the best choice for a new date.”
While the land course will remain largely unchanged, the 2010 swim course will be new and element-proof. In 2008 Typhoon Neoguri struck the island in the days prior to the race leaving stronger than normal currents in the South China Sea; the 2009 swim course was moved to the shelter of the Nandu River but unseasonably heavy rains resulted in a river speed that was unmanageable for weaker swimmers on the up-river course legs. While remaining in the Nandu River, the new course will be a point-to-point entirely down river course.
“Swimmers will ride the current from the start all the way down river to the transition area”, said Swim Course Director, Ian Adamson. “We will have a very fast swim and anticipate that very few athletes will have any difficulty making the swim cut-off times. The only surprise will be if the Ironman swim course World Record isn’t broken on this course. If we get rain, the course will be that much faster.”
Race Director Tinny Tung added: “Athletes choose races for different reasons including flat run legs, cool weather, or the profile of the bike course. After two years of bad luck resulting in tough swims, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance and so we opted for the easiest and fastest possible course. This should be a real attraction for many triathletes worried about making the swim cut-off or who have failed to qualify for Kona because of time lost in the swim. After listening to participant concerns it was important to us to guarantee, as far as possible, a simple, trouble free route in order encourage national and regional participation. This course development shows that we are responsive to athlete concerns.”
The highlights of Ironman China’s course will remain the same: the much loved bike leg that take athletes to rural villages, via wide and clear highways, has been heralded as the highlight of China’s destination Ironman race, along with the run course which winds through the bustling market streets of Haikou’s old town to end, nestled between two lakes, in the city centre’s People’s Park.
Ironman China 2009 was won by Rasmus Henning; the Danish champ has since gone on to win every race that he has entered this year and many consider him to be a likely contender for the title at the Ford Ironman World Champion in Kona, Hawaii this October. Women’s winner, Australian Charlotte Paul, had the fastest overall run split of the day at Ironman China 2009 in 3:37. Ironman 70.3 China was won by former Ford Ironman World Champion, Chris McCormack.
Registration for Ironman China and Ironman 70.3 China 2010 opens on August 3, 2009. Both races will be held on the same day, March 14th in Haikou, Hainan Island, China.