Each year the Ironman triathlon comes to the island of Cozumel in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, drawing competitors from around the world to this visually stunning and dramatic course. 2013 was no exception, with thousands of visitors and triathletes attending the sold-out event. Surrounded by the Mexican Caribbean Sea, the island of Cozumel lies just off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo,just a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen and just south of Cancun.
Michael Weiss won this year’s event in the men’s race,while Rachel Joyce triumphed in the women’s competition. The victory was long awaited for Weiss,who has not competed since 2011,and follows a runner-up win for Joyce a few weeks ago at the Ironman World Championship.
The two-transition course starts with a single-loop swim,followed by a 180-kilometer,three-lap bike course that winds along the island’s scenic coastline on a path that has little or no elevation and stretches past a number of resorts,as well as the town of San Miguel de Cozumel. A three-loop run completes the competition,which offers 50 qualifying slots for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Hona,HI.
“Local supporters and bands play traditional Mexican music,creating a festival-like atmosphere,” writes Ironman.com. “The finish line is at the city hall square in San Miguel de Cozumel,where local residents provide support to all finishers.”
This year,competitors had to contend with strong winds during the swimming portion of the race,but a strong current working in their favor helped speed up times regardless of this additional challenge. The Reefs of Cozumel National Park served as the backdrop for the swim course and also prompted many competitors to return after the race to see even more of this idyllic marine wonderland.
“Boasting the second largest barrier reef in the world,Cozumel has an international reputation as one of the premier diving destinations in the world,” writes Ironman.com. “Thousands of divers and snorkelers visit every year to experience the 200 feet of visibility,countless species of fish,sponges,anemones and coral.”
In addition,the island of Cozumel and the surrounding region are home to a variety of other exciting activities,including tours of ancient Mayan ruins in the nearby town of Tulum,jungle adventures,white sand beaches and – of course – a year round warm,tropical climate.
Have you attended an Ironman competition or other sporting event in Mexico? If so,share your experience with other readers in the comments section below!