The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, the pinnacle of world triathlon and the season-opener for the world's fastest elite triathletes, has opened early-bird entries to the public. Amateur athletes and tiny triathletes can sign-up for the spectacle via www.AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org for their chance to race on one of the world’s most iconic triathlon courses alongside the world’s finest. The prestigious race, now entering its fourth edition, takes place from 2 to 3 March in the UAE capital.
Host partner, Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), is aiming to increase participation numbers by 60 percent to accommodate more participants across all race distances. "We were extremely encouraged by the breadth of entries this year and so have decided to expand the 2018 event to welcome close to 4,000 athletes," said Talal Al Hashemi, Director of Technical Affairs at ADSC.
"World-class events like this showcase Abu Dhabi as an international sports hub for elite athletes, amateurs and enthusiasts the world over."
"We continuously endeavour to create positive sporting experiences that see people come back to participate year-on-year. The 2018 event is set to be yet another unforgettable spectacular for all involved,” continued Al Hashemi.
The 2017 event, the largest triathlon in the Middle East to date, was a record-breaking third edition that saw 2,500 athletes from 52 countries take their marks and race the same breath-taking course as 87 of the world's leading elite triathletes. The ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi has had a direct positive impact on Abu Dhabi as a destination and the 2017 event saw an economic impact of AED 12.7 million (9 percent increase on 2016), a direct tourism spend of AED 5.7 million (12% increase on 2016) and the elite race got 189 hours of global TV coverage, with over 18 million viewers.
In an effort to attract more athletes from around the world organisers have now added the 'Middle' distance (1,900m swim, 90km bike, 21km run) aimed at amateur triathletes looking for a long-distance adrenaline rush. Amateur participants can choose from the following three race distances for the 2018 event, which can be completed as an individual or as part of a team:
- Sprint: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
- Olympic: 1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
- Middle: 1,900m swim, 90km bike, 21km run
For the first time, the World Triathlon Series season-opener will feature race waves specifically for para-triathletes in a bid to evolve the Abu Dhabi event to be an all-inclusive event that caters to all.
"The fourth edition of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is shaping up to be a thrilling and dynamic extravaganza. We are working with our partners to put on a unique experience for every individual participating in the 2018 event whether a beginner, seasoned amateur, para-triathlete or professional," said Gary Marescia, Event Director of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.
"Next month we will be announcing the first elite athletes set to kick their 2018 season off in Abu Dhabi, leading one of the strongest elite line-ups that Abu Dhabi has ever seen – watch this space!"
The local community can also make the weekend a family affair, with the return of the Junior Triathlon - a fun event aimed at encouraging youngsters to get active – which hosts race categories for children aged five years and over including:
- Mini 1km: 1km run for 5 – 8 years
- Kids Duathlon: 500m run, 4km cycle, 500m run for 7 – 11 years
- Junior Duathlon: 500m run, 7km cycle, 1km run for 12 – 15 years
- Junior Triathlon: 120 swim, 4km cycle, 1km run for 9 – 11 years
- Junior Triathlon Super Sprint: 400m swim, 10km cycle, 2.5km run for 12 – 15 years
Early-bird prices start at AED 54 with limited spots up for grabs until 31 October, or until early-bird entries sell out. Online registrations for the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi 2018 are now open to the public via the race website, www.AbuDhabi.Triathlon.org.