Laguna Phuket’s new Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship course has been given a seal of approval by the best possible authority – newly-crowned Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae.
The gruelling 90km course was road -tested by a group of regional and Phuket-based triathlon enthusiasts during a weekend training camp in Phuket led by Mirinda, just weeks after her World Ironman Championship triumph at Kona, Hawaii.
The new Ironman 70.3 bike course is an extension of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon course. It breaks new ground by extending into the island’s scenic east coast on spectacular winding coastal hill roads.
After leading the group on a ride to debut its demanding series of hills, twists and turns, Mirinda said: “This is a fantastic challenge in absolutely beautiful and breathtaking surroundings.
“It’s pretty technical with some difficult hills and it will be a tough test for all the Ironman 70.3 competitors – they’ll have to be at their best to take it on.”
Australian Mirinda, a big fan of Phuket and previous competitor in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon, finished her season with the World Champion title victory in Hawaii and won’t compete in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship at Laguna Phuket on 5 December.
But a stellar line-up of fellow professionals that includes her boyfriend American Tim O’Donnell, a multiple Ironman 70.3 winner; Ironman world champion runner-up Caroline Steffen; Ironman 70.3 world champion Michael Raelert of Germany; and probably the most famous name currently in Ironman, two-time world champion Australian Craig Alexander, will take on the challenge of the new course among a field of some 800 individuals and relay teams.
The three-day weekend training camp was attended by a number of triathletes entered in the Ironman 70.3 Asia- Pacific Championship, who were able to take a sneak peek at the course to help gauge the challenge facing them.
The group also included The Biggest Loser Asia weight loss personality Garry Holden of Phuket, as part of his training to take on both the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship less than a year after shedding 45 kilos.
Triathlete Nicole Gallagher of training camp organiser BPM-Sport.com, said: “Taking on the new bike course was the highlight of the weekend and a fantastic opportunity for our training camp members to get first-hand experience of its challenges.
“Everyone was thrilled to take on this new challenge – as well as being a difficult course it’s also beautiful and scenic.”
“We’ve organised triathlon training camps led by professionals in various parts of asia , but this was our first in Phuket and we couldn’t have asked for a better location, or a more appropriate professional to le ad it. The whole experience was terrific.”
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