Azores Triathlon: Race Day Review

Sergio Marques finishing in first place
Sergio Marques finishing in first place

At the beginning of November Emma flew out to Sao Miguel to take part in the Azores Triathlon.  Here’s her race day review:

On the volcanic island of Sao Miguel, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the November sun shone as triathletes made their preparations for the 5th year of the Azores Triathlon.

A total of 55 athletes from Portugal, the Azores archipelago and the UK competed across the long and sprint distance races of this small and exciting event.

Portuguese triathletes before the event
Portuguese triathletes before the event

Competition was fierce in the long race as competitors battled for the title in the last event of the Portuguese Triathlon Federation calendar.  A blistering pace was set for the 1.9km sea swim in the sheltered harbour of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the largest island of the archipelago, Sao Miguel.  With a sea temperature of 19°C, the swimmers were uninhibited by the cold and were soon blazing along the harbour front on the first lap of the 90km bike ride.

Swim leg in Ponta Delgada harbour
Swim leg in Ponta Delgada harbour

The route was fast and mostly flat with just two short inclines to split the field.  The 21km road run followed laps of a similarly flat course along the harbour and out into the villages along the sea front. The finish line was a hub of excitement as families, photographers and TV crews gathered in the cafes right next to the gantry and cheered the athletes in.

The men’s race was won by Sergio Marques who finished in 4 hours 7 minutes and Vanessa Pereira won the female title for the 5th year in a row finishing in 4 hours 45 minutes.

Cycle race along the harbour front
Cycle leg along the harbour front

17 athletes took part in the sprint distance race which consisted of a 950m swim, 27km bike and 5km road run.  The men’s race was won by Nuno Silva who finished in 1 hour 28 minutes and the only female in the sprint race, Emma, completed in 1 hour 56 minutes.

Emma, who normally works in the Archipelago Choice office, said ‘The triathlon was brilliantly organized and it hasn’t mattered that I don’t speak Portuguese as all the information has been in English.  It’s a really fast course and would be a good one to get a PB!  The island is absolutely stunning, a cross between Hawaii and New Zealand and I’m looking forward to spending a few days here soaking in the geothermal pools in Furnas, whale watching and paddle boarding on the volcanic crater lakes at Sete Cidades’

The geothermal pools in Furnas - perfect for a post race soak!
The geothermal pools in Furnas – perfect for a post race soak!

There are plans to include an Olympic distance race to the Triathlon on the 8th November next year and, with a strong international field from Europe, America and Canada expected, the battle for the 2015 trophy will be tougher than ever.

Archipelago Choice’s Triathlon Package includes race entry and logistical support, flights, transfers, accommodation and the option of activities post event – 2015 trip details will be announced at the end of January.

Paddle boarding on Sete Cidades twin crater lakes
Paddle boarding on Sete Cidades twin crater lakes

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