The Slovenia Times

First Half Ironman in Slovenia to feature 1,400 participants


The I feel Slovenia 70.3 Slovenian Istria event in the four coastal towns, organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), will consist of a 1.9 km swim, a 90 km bike ride and a 21.1 km run.

The Slovenian organisers have obtained a three-year licence for the event, whose first edition will feature only recreational athletes in several age groups.

The start and finish of the largest triathlon event in the country ever will be in Koper, with the participants having eight and a half hours to complete the event.

It will start with the swimming leg, followed by the cycling part to Ankaran and across the border into Italy and back. The running leg will take place on the coastal road between Koper and Izola.

The organisers had announced in August that the 1,400 slots for the event had been filled, with the participants coming from 48 countries. The event will also feature an Ironkids competition for about 300 children.

The organisers are satisfied with the preparations and believe that Slovenians will see a spectacle on the coast. "We want to make an event which would be kind to the people who live along the route," event director general Milan Eržen has told the STA.

Eržen believes that the event could have easily attracted 2,000 competitors. "We have already sent an application for 2,000 competitors for next year. I think it will be granted," he said, adding that the plan was to have a maximum of 2,600 in the third year.

He thinks that the event could become one of the biggest recreational events in the country along with the Ljubljana Marathon and the Franja cycling race. "Numbers say that Slovenians like to compete. I think that Ironman will stay in Slovenia."

Eržen would like to see professionals compete in Ironman in Slovenia already next year. This would be an opportunity for David Pleše, Slovenia's best triathlon athlete, to compete in front of the home crowd.

"I hope it will be an opportunity for those who made it to the world championship in Hawaii to come to Slovenia and test their form. This is what Pleše and many others could do," he added.

As part of the event, the Slovenian Tourism Board (STO) will host a study tour of Slovenia for representatives of Gulf countries on Saturday.

STO director Maja Pak believes that the Half Ironman was an "opportunity to present Slovenia as a green destination, as an excellent host, as a destination with rich heritage and cuisine".


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