The Best Triathlon Races in Asia – 2016

      Another year is behind us and the amount of races in Asia keeps on increasing, our 2016 calendar had over 60 events in 12 different countries. This year, AsiaTRI covered over 35 events, from local triathlons to all the world championships; no other media outlet was present in so many triathlon races in the region, which allows us to create a list of the best events of the year. Most of these events are yearly races and we hope to get you inspired to read the course reviews, check the best photos, and sign up for the 2017 race.

      Here are the best of 2016, broken down in both long and short course:

      Best Overall Triathlon in Asia – 2016

      Best Overall Short Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Bali International Triathlon

      The Bali International Triathlon is becoming one of the best triathlon events in Asia.  In 2015 the race was the winner of AsiaTRI award “Best destination race – short course” since the course provided the participants, especially foreign athletes, the total Balinese experience: from the bike blessing ceremony before the race, pasta party on the beach, to a fancy sunset cocktails party after the race.

      The main change for this year’s event was moving the race venue from Jimbaran Bay to Sanur Beach.  Since the event outgrew Jimbaran,   it was the next best thing to move to the new venue, with athletes having a much safer bike course with the traffic 100% closed to all vehicles.

      If you have been to Bali before you would imagine all sorts of challenges when organizing a triathlon, however the new race in 2016 was a world class event, safe, fun, challenging and still providing the Bali experience and destination race feel.

      Read the course review of Bali Triathlon

      See best photos of Bali Triathlon 2016

      Visit their website HERE.

      Best Overall Long Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Ironman Cairns (& Ironman 70.3)

      Despite not belonging geographically in Asia, the 2016 Ironman Cairns was the Asia Pacific Championships and the title sponsor, Cairns Airport, offers direct flights from some of Asia’s main airports such as Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila and Bali. Brisbane airport is the nearest main airport and also offers direct flights to virtually all main cities in Asia.

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      At the present moment, Asia has a limited number of full distance triathlons which creates the perfect combination of using a full distance triathlons to explore the world. Ironman Cairns provides the whole package for the athletes, the destination and tourism attractions, a challenging and fun course and the high experience team of organizers.

      As a bonus, athletes have the option to race the Ironman 70.3 on the same day if you don’t feel quite ready yet for the full distance, the course is virtually the same, just with fewer loops.

      Read the course review of Ironman Cairns (& Ironman 70.3) 

      See best photos of Ironman Cairns 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: June 11, 2017.  Visit/Register for 2017 Ironman Cairns

      2017 Race Schedule: June 11, 2017.  Visit/Register for 2017 Ironman Cairns 70.3

       

      Most Challenging Triathlon in Asia – 2016

      Most Challenging Short Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Laguna Phuket Triathlon

      The newer and improved bike course of Laguna Phuket Triathlon is also a little shorter but not any easier than the older course (55km), the main challenge of the course is still there, but now in the final kilometers of the bike course rather than in the opening stages, you have now to climb the short and steep hills of Phuket on tired legs.

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      The swim and the run course remains exactly the same and they both also have its own challenges. The first half of the swim is held in the beautiful waters of Bangtao Beach, then you run another 100 meters across the beach to dive into the resort’s lagoon. This is a challenge since the ocean water has a higher density than the lagoon (or a swimming pool), so there is a sinking feeling for the first few hundred meters of the next swim section.

      The run is mostly on the golf course and its undulations are not significant. The only special consideration for this course is the terrain, as the mix of grass and dirt road makes it a bit slower compared with a hard surface. If you are looking for a short course race and a challenging course, this is our recommendation.

      Read the course review of Laguna Phuket Triathlon

      See best photos of Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2016

      Visit their website HERE.

      Most Challenging Long Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Challenge Kanchanaburi

      To benchmark how fast or slow a race was, the most reliable way is to check the results of the world class professional athletes, since these are always very consistent with their racing and training and their splits will reflect the challenges of the course.

      Race winner Antony Costes of Team Thanyapura, won the race in 04:16:46, his splits were: swim 00:26:01, Bike 02:22:10 Run 01:26:07, while earlier in the year, Antony was 2nd place at Ironman 70.3 Panama in 03:41:54, a difference of thirty five minutes, that at that level, means your average age group is looking for at least one hour slower in the Kanchanaburi course compared to  faster option.

       

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      The bottom line is, if you are looking for a new personal best, this may not be the most suitable course, however if you like to race in the hills, and you prefer a real challenge rather than a fast finish time, Challenge Kanchanaburi is for you.

      Read the course review of Challenge Kanchanaburi

      See best photos of Challenge Kanchanaburi 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: October 2017 (TBA).  Visit their website HERE.

      Best Inaugural Triathlon in Asia – 2016

      Best Inaugural Short Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Bangsaen Triathlon

      One hour drive from Bangkok International Airport, this race attracted a world class field such as Ruedi Wild (3rd Place World Championships Ironman 70.3),

      In 2017 the format will change for a longer cycling and run legs, distances will be 1.5k swim / 80k bike / 15k run or the super sprint in 750m swim / 40k bike / 7.5k run

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      Read the course review of Bangsaen Triathlon

      See best photos of Bangsaen Triathlon 2016

      Visit their website HERE.

      Best Inaugural Long Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Challenge Vietnam

      One of the highlights of the 2016 calendar was the addition of Challenge Vietnam to the Asian circuit. This race offers it all, the exotic holiday destination, challenging course, great organization and plenty of fun pre and post-race activities. The hosting city of Nha Trang is considered “Riviera of Vietnam” and only a quick flight away from all major airports in Vietnam.

      See also:  Video: Michael Raelert on his Phuket training camp

       

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      The young and energetic organizers of Challenge Vietnam also runs HCC Run-The City Marathon and Color Me Run Vietnam.  They also outsourced international experience for their first triathlon event bringing in race organizers from Philippines and Singapore.

      Read course review of Challenge Vietnam

      See best photos of Challenge Vietnam 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: August 27, 2017.  Visit their website HERE.

      Best Triathlon Swim Course in Asia 2016

      Best Short Distance Triathlon Swim Course in Asia 2016: 5150 Bohol

      It will be difficult to compete against Bohol 5150 when the transition area is only a few meters away from the blue waters of Bohol in the Philippines, one of Asia’s premiere scuba diving destinations.

      Bohol is a world class diving venue attracting divers of all interests, from experienced deep water diving to more exotic attractions such as snorkeling with whale sharks. The swim course is just as attracting and would make a great snorkeling venue especially in the first and final hundred meters when it is shallower, you can spot dozens of star fish and other type of sea life.

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      The deep water start is 200m from shore and waist deep, then swimmers go out and once it gets deep enough, there is one right turn, then another several hundred meters before making an u-turn around a buoy and coming back on the opposite direction, all well marked with lane ropes. During most of the course you can see the bottom and the very clear water makes every newbie swimmer very comfortable in this type of conditions.

      Read the course review of 5150 Bohol

      See best photos of 5150 Bohol 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: November 5, 2017.  Visit/Register through their website.

      Best Long Distance Triathlon Swim Course in Asia 2016: Ironman 70.3 Bintan

      Warm and calm waters, very straight forward and easy to navigate loop, the “inverse L shape” swim course is very beginner friendly as the athletes starts from waist deep waters in several different waves. The venue is what you visualize when you close your eyes and think about a paradisiac beach. No one in sight, coconut trees and blue waters.

      Important to mention that Ironman 70.3 Bintan was the winner of the Best Bike Course in 2015, this is a race with several attractions including also the convenience of getting there, only a quick ferry away from Singapore.

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      Read the course review of Ironman 70.3 Bintan

      See best photos of Ironman Bintan 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: August 20, 2017.  Visit/Register through their official site.

      Best Triathlon Bike Course in Asia 2016

      Best Short Distance Triathlon Bike Course in Asia 2016 – Short Course: 5150 subic

      Subic Bay is the most well known venue for triathlon training and racing in the Philippines. Professional triathletes have used Subic in their past as their training base such as multiple-Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington and 2-time Olympic Medalist Nicola Spirig

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      The early stages of the bike course is inside the old Subic Bay airport, providing the opportunity to ride on the main runway and past parked airplanes. The course then is point to point rolling hills through quiet roads, offering the opportunity for athletes to enjoy mixed challenges and never get bored from multi-lap courses. It ends in town with the final kilometers going on the coast of Subic Bay.

      Read the course review of 5150 Subic Bay

      See best photos of 5150 Subic Bay 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: June 4, 2017.  Visit/Register through their official site.

      Best Long Distance Triathlon Bike Course in Asia 2016: Ironman 70.3 Bintan

      This is the second year in a row that Ironman 70.3 Bintain takes the award of the best bike course for long distance triathlons. It’s difficult to beat the combination of factors that makes this course so great. Road quality is near perfect and brand new, its a one loop course which makes it fun and interesting, the scenery is mixed, from ocean front roads to local villages and plantations, traffic is very well controlled and safe, talking about safety, training on the island the days before the race is very safe and quiet.

       

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      For most of the course you will be either going up or down! Rolling hills would be the ideal description of the course, there aren’t any long or too steep uphill, neither technical downhills, but you can expect to be shifting your gears very often. This also makes drafting a smaller problem in this race.

       

      Read the course review of Ironman 70.3 Bintan

      See best photos of Ironman Bintan 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: August 20, 2017.  Visit/Register through their official site.

       

      Best Triathlon Run Course in Asia 2016

      Best Short Distance Triathlon Run Course in Asia 2016: Pattaya Triathlon

      Pattaya is one of Thailand’s main destination for entertainment and also due to the proximity to Bangkok’s International airport, the city has also hosted for two consecutive years the Pattaya Triathlon, part of the Thailand Tri-League, attracted a World Class field in 2016 including 2-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack, multiple time ironman 70.3 champion Mitch Robins and Phuket based pros Fredrik Croneborg and Amelia Watkinson

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      Certainly the highlight of the race, the run course had it all, hills and flats and a mixed scenery, from running on the beach along the ocean, into the famous walking street, to public parks with perfect kept gardens. The first three kilometers are all flat, then the steepest hill, of around 150 meters long and 10% gradient welcomes the athletes for the next five kilometers that are either up or down, before returning to the beach road for the final flat two kilometers.

      Read the course review of Pattaya Triathlon

      See best photos of Pattaya Triathlon 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: TBA.  Visit their website HERE.

      Best Long Distance Triathlon Run Course in Asia 2016: Ironman 70.3 Cebu

      The two loop run course is very straight forward and a good mix of a city course with thousands of spectators combined with nice ocean views from Cebu mainland. Once out on the run, you will go through literally thousands of local supporters lined up on both sides of the road, don’t get carried away and stick to your pacing strategy.

      See also:  The Best Photos from 2016 Ironman Langkawi

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      The run is all flat with only some very gentle undulations, a big part of the course is also shaded providing the athletes a break from the sun and the heat. While this is expected to be a hot race, in previous years, winners have ran a 1h16 half marathon, proving the course is also relatively fast. Keep in mind that the later you start (based on your swim ability) later it will be in the day and the warmer it will be.

      Read the course review of Ironman 70.3 Cebu

      See best photos of Ironman 70.3 Cebu 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: August 6, 2017.  Visit/Register through their official site.

      Most convenient Triathlon race in Asia – 2016

      Most convenient Short Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Laguna Phuket Triathlon

      One could argue a local triathlon race in one of Asia’s biggest city such as the Singapore Triathlon, Hong Kong Triathlon, could win this award and you are probably right if you live in one of these destinations. There’s nothing nicer than sleep in your own bed before a race and in the case of a short course triathlon, be home in time for breakfast. However since most of these categories we are talking about a destination race, somewhere you plan to travel to, take a mini holidays combined to these events, typically in a very nice location, it’s hard to beat the convenience of Laguna Phuket Triathlon.

      Located only twenty minutes away from Phuket International Airport which offers direct flights to over 20 cities in Asia, once in one of the Laguna Phuket resorts, you can kick back, relax, enjoy the resort and look forward to race day and the activities around it. As a bonus prize you are also getting the most challenging short course race in Asia 2016.

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      Read the course review of Laguna Phuket Triathlon

      See best photos of Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: TBA.  Visit their website HERE.

      Most convenient Long Course Triathlon in Asia 2016: Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya, Malaysia

      If you are short on time to travel for your next triathlon, no race beats Putrajaya when it comes to convenience. Only twenty minutes away from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, depending where you are flying from, you can literally spend less than 36 hours door to door to get this race done.

      Radka Vodickova at Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya, Malaysia

      Once in Putrajaya, the organizers also makes your life very easy with shuttle buses running on time, picking up athletes at several hotels and taking them to all pre-race and race day activities. The race itself is also very well organized and you can expect a fast swim and bike course, but the heat will make the run a challenge.

      Read the course review of Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya

      See best photos of Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: TBA.  Visit their website HERE.

      Best Destination Triathlon in Asia – 2016

      Best Short Course Destination Triathlon in Asia 2016: Bali International Triathlon

      Read the course review of Bali Triathlon

      See best photos of Bali Triathlon 2016

      Visit their website HERE.

      Best Long Course Destination Triathlon in Asia 2016: Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

      Ironman 70.3 Vietnam is now going into its 3rd year and the host city of Da Nang is one of Vietnam’s biggest cities and offers direct flights from several cities in Asia, or if you need a connecting flight from Hanoi or Ho Chin Min, there are plenty of options. Once you are in Da Nang, the race hotel is only 15 minutes drive away and if you are on a budget there are plenty of good options that are only 3-5km away from the race start, taxis there are easy and the organizers offers shuttle buses.

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      This is a great destination races as you may also combine with a cultural weekend (visiting Hue and Hoi An), enjoy the five star facilities of the hosting hotel and the nice scenery of the course. While the swim and bike are fast, the heat will certainly slow you down in this race, don’t expect a fast run split and be ready to run at 35+ degrees Celsius.

      Read the course review of Ironman 70.3 Vietnam

      See best photos of Ironman 70.3 Vietnam 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: May 7, 2017.  Visit/Register through their official site.

      Best Off-Road Triathlon in Asia – 2016: Himalayan Rush, Nepal

      The Himalayan is most known for hosting 8 out of the top 10 highest mountains in the world including Mount Everest. By racing the Himalayan Rush, you will still experience part of the climbers route, including a stop over in Kathmandu, staying in Pokhara, the hosting town of the climbers and triathletes, but you will be staring at the top of the world from a triathlon course instead of a base camp.

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      2016 was the 5th edition of the Himalayan Rush, the off-road triathlon held on the foothills of the Himalayas making it the ultimate destination race. The very casual atmosphere and challenging course, makes this an extremely fun event for off-road triathletes of all levels.

      Read the course review

      See the best photos of 2016

      2017 Race Schedule: March 25, 2017.  Visit/Register through their official site.

      Best Duathlon in Asia – 2016:  Powerman Philippines World Series in Clark

      International duathlon race brand. Check.  Duathlon World Champions on the startlist. Check.  Duathlon-friendly race-venue. Check. Great to have an international duathlon brand in the still growing endurance community in the Philippines.   Two categories (Long, 10k-60k-10k, and Short, 5k-30k-5k) make it accessible for everyone to race.  The race venue also provides lots of accomodation options for everyone.

       

      The cyclist-friendly confines of the Clark Freeport Zone makes this one of the best duathlon destinations in Southeast Asia.  Accessibility for foreign participants is also not a problem as Clark has its own international airport.

      Read the Powerman Philippines Course Review

      See The Best Photos from 2016 Powerman Philippines

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