THE T:ZERO BLOG
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On March 7th, over one thousand adrenalin-fuelled athletes will gather on the start line of Ironman New Zealand 2020. Taking place in the picturesque town of Taupo on the North Island, Ironman New Zealand is the world’s longest-running Ironman. With so many of our T:Zero athletes and coaches partaking in this event over the years, it’s fair to say our love for IMNZ runs deep. Here are five reasons it holds a special place in our heart …
1. The swim is “unreal”
… in the immortal words of Coach Scotty, who knows this course so well. Other words often used to describe the swim include “magnificent” “breathtaking” and “magic”. Set in the pristine waters of Lake Taupo, one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes, the swim course is crisp and clear; and golf balls lining the bottom of the lake offer swimmers a nice, novel surprise, as do the friendly scuba divers waving from down below! Combine this with the haka at sunrise and the starting cannon sending athletes off from a deep water mass start … it’s enough to send chills down your spine. Be warned - the swim transition run to T1 is significantly longer than normal, although the fact that it’s lined by a red carpet eases the pain somewhat…
2. Community support is second to none
One of the universally-loved aspects of IMNZ is the incredible support athletes receive from the local community. Crowds of locals line each leg of the course to ensure that athletes are never left alone with a dark thought in a dark corner for even a moment. And they never stop cheering. Campervans, cars and people abound, and the ability of the locals to embrace the visiting athletes and make them feel at home makes all the difference. Local school children even pen letters of encouragement to distribute to athletes which provides a unique gift and a welcome boost too!
3. The volunteers are awesome
An extension of #2, the volunteers make this race incredible. Consistently voted as one of Ironman’s most well-run events, Ironman New Zealand’s 2000+ volunteers provide an army of support for athletes, ensuring the day runs as smoothly as possible. Time and again, professionals and age groupers consistently mention the incredible support provided by the volunteers, who sure know how to throw a party (particularly at the aid stations), making themselves a memorable highlight for many athletes.
4. Taupo itself … is a gem!
Taupo offers visitors spectacular scenery and a relaxed small town feel, because it is, in fact, a relaxed small town! Despite the small population, Taupo has plenty of shops (great coffee shops!) and restaurants and is brimming with culture, rich in local Maori history. The town is packed with sights, attractions and activities for athletes and their families to enjoy, pre or post-race - whatever floats your boat. And if you're struggling to move on the Sunday, you can rest up and enjoy the lake and mountains that surround the town - natural beauty is plentiful here.
5. The bike and run courses keep you honest
Nail these two legs and you’ll know you’ve done an Ironman, that’s for sure. The two-loop bike course is technically described as “undulating”, providing a good challenge for athletes who’ll enjoy some spectacular scenery (think farmlands and forests) while battling the potentially interesting headwinds amongst other things. The run course is a three-looper so you can get into your groove here, taking in lakefront scenery which eases the pain of some interesting changes in terrain on the run (which, incidentally is described on the Ironman website as “flat”). The run course also takes athletes through town three times which helps if you need a boost of support from the amazing crowds (refer #2, above).
All in all, Ironman New Zealand offers spectacular scenery, a challenging course and incredible local support. It’s certainly one race in the suite of Ironman events that’s best placed on your bucket list now if it’s not already. Good luck to all our T:Zero athletes racing IMNZ 2020!
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!