By Bejay Browne
AN extreme triathlon event, a first of a kind for Cyprus, will see athletes compete on a course which starts in the sea off Paphos and ends at the peak of Mount Olympus.
Organised by Bikin Cyprus Events Management with the support of the Paphos regional board of tourism and Paphos municipality, “O3 Olympus Man” will get underway in Paphos on Sunday November 1.
The race is being held for the first time in Cyprus and organised on a pilot basis, with the aim of developing it into one of the greatest triathlon events in Cyprus and beyond.
The course runs point-to-point, from the coast of Paphos, through Diarizos valley, the vineyard region and thick coniferous forests, to finish on the highest point of the island, the Olympus peak.
“This is the first time that this type of triathlon race is being held in Cyprus and it will really test the athletes,” said Mike Hadjioannou of Bikin Cyprus Adventures. “It will include a half ‘iron man’ distance, but it differs in that the running section includes 3,000 metres of altitude climbing.”
An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races consisting of a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bicycle ride and a marathon 42 km run, raced in that order and without a break. It is widely considered as one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.
“The distances of the Olympus Man, correspond to distances of a half ironman, but the degree of difficulty of the race, because of the uphill route in cycling and running, makes it one of the toughest in the world, which will give the race diversity and be of interest to athletes who wish to participate,” said a spokesman for the Paphos regional board of tourism.
Hadjioannou said that ironman triathlons are becoming increasingly popular the world over.
“An ironman is the longest official distance in a triathlon. For the first time we are also going to put some sort of time limit on the bike and running section.”
Bikin has already successfully organised a number of popular sports events in Paphos, including the sprint and Olympic triathlon which was held for the first time in April.
Hadjioannou said that the athletes will start off in Kato Paphos at the municipal baths for the swimming section, which is a distance of 1.9km. They will then complete the bike section which will see them cycle from Paphos to Troodos square, a distance of 86km. The running section is 21.5 km and they will follow the Atalante and Artemis trails which will see them finish at the peak of Mount Olympus.
“They will start the triathlon at 6.30am and we are expecting them to complete the race at around 5pm. This is an extreme course and there are only a few other places in the world which are able to do this kind of thing, such as Norway, Switzerland, Scotland and the USA.”
As this is the first of a kind for Cyprus, organisers are limiting the race to no more than 40 participants (made up of individuals or individual team members) in each section to ensure that it’s a well organised and safe event.
Each team will have a maximum of three members.
“We are expecting athletes from all over the region to take part; they will need to have a high level of fitness.”
The Paphos regional board of tourism spokesman said that the race is an important addition to sports tourism in the area and that athletes would be staying in Paphos.
Athletes will be provided with refreshments along the way with three points along the cycling course and two along the running section. These will provide carbohydrates in liquid form as well as fruit and cake which are important for the athlete to refuel.
“O3 OlympusMan” will be held on Sunday, November 1, 2015.
For further information: www.cyclingcy.com