Ironman 70.3 Bintan, a detailed course review

The inaugural Ironman 70.3 Bintan is just over a month away. In our first article about the race, Bintan ready and primed for Ironman 70.3 debut, you learned more about the background of the race and that Metaman has now evolved to the new Ironman 70.3 and why Bintan Ironman 70.3 is a very convenient option to the local athletes being only a quick ferry ride away from Singapore.

In the interview below with the race director, Metasport’s Matthe Vijverberg, you will learn more about the course and what to expect from the course and the organizers.

Note that you can still register for Ironman 70.3 Bintan at www.ironmanbintan.com

How is the course different from last year’s MetaMan course?

 Having moved the race venue to Lagoi Bay, we had to amend the course as well. The swim and run course are completely new.

The swim start and finish are at the same location, near the transition and festival area, and the course is visible from the beach throughout the swim, so I expect a thumbs-up from spectators.

The run course remains a three-lap affair, so again great for spectating. Unlike the old course, though, this course is now completely flat.

The route for the bike course is largely the same. Only the first 15km and last 3km are completely new. Due to the new sectors being flattish, I expect bike times to be faster.

Why is IRONMAN Bintan a good race to secure World Championships slots?

 IRONMAN 70.3 BINTAN is one of the first qualifiers for the World Championships at the Gold Coast, Australia, in 2016. Due to its proximity to the World Champs venue, the Bintan race has 40 qualifying slots for grab.

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IRONMAN 70.3 BINTAN being a late addition to the IRONMAN race calendar in 2015, we expect this year to have a relatively small number of participants, approximately 800. This increases the athletes’ chances to secure a slot.

Metasport's Matthe Vijverberg - Ironman 70.3 Bintan Race Director
Metasport’s Matthe Vijverberg – Ironman 70.3 Bintan Race Director

What differentiates this course from others in Asia?

The one-lap bike course traveling past jungle, villages and beaches is stunning. The local population comes out in force to cheer the participants, and definitely gives this event a very special Indonesian flavour.

I am very interested to get the athletes’ feedback on the new run course. I think it is absolutely unique with a total open view on the competition field: the course meanders around a small lake where the runners can keep sight of their fellow competitors for a big part of the route.

Finally, like in some other places in Asia, the beach and swimming conditions are amazing.

What are the swimming conditions like?

 Bintan is a true tropical paradise that comes with white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Early mornings the water is like a mirror. Thanks to the protected bay and very moderate tide on race day, I expect no current either. In summary, it is a very fast swim!

  1. With water being 29C pretty much all year round, wetsuits are not allowed in the race.

I read that the run course is fast. Why is that?

Because it is totally flat! Unlike previous years.

What’s the profile of the bike course? What are the road conditions like?

 The bike course is hilly in parts. No climbs exceeding 70m though, but numerous. You will use your small chain ring on a few occasions. We included some flat coastal sections to give the athletes some respite from the rolling hills. The athletes can thank Cameron Brown for that. When he joined us for a training camp back in 2012 and recced the course, he recommend that we cut out a few hills to ensure we make it accessible to some of the entry level athletes based in Asia, which we did. Thanks Cam!

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Road conditions are very good. You will enjoy smooth tarmac with low rolling resistance for most of the route.

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