Ibiza seems like an interesting choice of venue for World Multisport Championship and it was certainly unique! We arrived for the second weekend to find a hotel full of a combination of athletes and clubbers – as one set of guests went out for the other set returned home and it kind of went on like that fr the whole time we were there
Fran had a bit of disaster – entered into the aqua bike (she hates aqua bikes anyway), after a choppy swim she arrived in T1 to find her bike had been knocked off the rack and one of the shifters snapped off so race over before it started.
GS athletes faired much better on the first weekend though with Emma and Katherine finishing 11th and 12th in their respective age groups in the standard duathlon and Julie and David both having good races in the aquathlon finishing 12th and 6th respectively (see below Julie’s great race report
World Aquathlon Championships – Ibiza – 1 May 2023
It was all David Robbins’ idea: why didn’t I submit a time for the World Aquathlon Championships
which were to be held in Ibiza in May? Unlike the sprint triathlon championships I was used to, you
don’t enter a qualifying race, instead you just submit a time for the swim and run from any race and
see if you can meet the required times. For me this meant I had to be able to complete a 750m
swim in 19 minutes (not a problem) and a 5k run in 34 minutes (more of a problem!). But the Team
Manager was obviously feeling beneficial and I made the team for the 70-74 age group. David had
pre-qualified from the 2022 European Championships in Bilbao, but unfortunately Linda didn’t make
We all met up in Santa Eularia, Ibiza at the end of April: me and David to race, Linda and Colin in
support. Colin and I had just spent 10 days cycling in Mallorca, which is hardly great preparation for
a World Aquathlon Championships (though I had done a bit of swimming and running as well). Ibiza
was hosting the World Multisports Championships so there were races going on all over the island.
As well as our aquathlon there were sprint and standard duathlons, cross-tri and aqua bike races
As a consequence the small island was crammed with athletes of all nations, all ages and all
disciplines. You had to feel sorry for the tourists, particularly when they closed the roads for the
duathlons. Despite the chaos David and I managed to get down to the main town to register and we
both did a bit of running and swimming in the couple of days leading up to the race. We both made
sure we knew the layout of the swim and run courses and were pleased with our preparation – until
at the last minute the race organisers decided to change the direction of the swim course, and
change a classic beach start to a deep water start. Apparently they’d just discovered there were
rocks just off the beach adjacent to the starting area which suggested a lack of local knowledge from
the World triathlon organising team !
The race day dawned to pan flat conditions and it was quite a leisurely start. We had a couple of
hours from 8 until 10 to get our kit into transition. Then we just chilled to the Ibiza sounds from the
event DJ adjacent to the team hotel (right next to transition) for a couple of hours before heading
over to the beach for our start waves. I was off in a middle wave with the 80 or so in the two 60 +
age groups by which time the wind was getting up and the sea conditions were on the lumpy side. At
20 deg C it was wetsuit optional so almost all competing chose to wear them for the buoyancy bonus
which helped as the 1k course was actually 1150 m per my Garmin and I hit transition with a swim
time of 20m 19s.
I was part of the last wave to go: the over-60s women at just after midday. Normally the older
women’s waves are quite civilised, but this one was a bun fight from the start and included me being
hit in the face at the first buoy. The sea conditions were reasonably good, though there was a bit of a
chop/swell which made it difficult to see the buoys at times. It was supposedly a 1000m course, but
turned out to be a bit long, so I was pleased with my 26:33 time. I had been allocated a space in
transition closest to the sea exit so I was soon by my box and getting my wetsuit off. (As wetsuits
were optional, with the sea temperature of 20 degrees, I also opted in as I am always much quicker
with the wetsuit than without.) Running shoes, race number and sunglasses on – wetsuit into the
box, a quick swig of water and I was off running (after a fashion) down the long narrow transition
area along the seafront.
This was my first serious aquathlon, and although I do enjoy running after swimming in training, this
was of a different order. It was taking me a while to get my breathing sorted, so when I went past
Linda and Colin on the seafront during the first kilometre I wasn’t feeling my best. It was a matter of
focussing on run cadence and form and hoping it would get better. It did improve a bit after a couple
of kilometres, but it was hard work all the way.
Fortunately the course was pretty much dead flat, though we ran over every different surface you
could think of. Another plus was the slight cloud cover which kept the temperature down to
something reasonable. The run course was very complicated, with lots of turns and running
backwards and forwards along various parts of the sea front. I just kept pushing, and even overtook
a couple of very slow Americans (having already been overtaken myself by a couple of fast ones). A
quick glance at my watch and I was glad to see I was in the last kilometre. I could see another
American just ahead of me. I checked the marking on the back of her calf: the age group below me
so it didn’t really matter if she beat me. But for some reason I couldn’t let her go. So as we
approached the right turn onto the blue carpet to the finish line, I pushed a bit harder and went past
her – doing my very best to sprint up the slight incline to the finish line. And then it was over. As
usual I made it a couple of metres over the line before coming to a complete halt in front of a very
worried looking marshal. Another marshal took the timing chip off my ankle and I was able to move
again towards Colin and Linda and onto the recovery area for water and apples.
My run time was 34:28, which is respectable for me. I had come 6 th in my age group and second Brit.
For a race I wasn’t intending to take very seriously that was good enough for me.
David of course had finished quite some time earlier after a solid run in 22m 01s albeit with a sore
calf niggle to finish in 12th place (4 th GB) just behind the second Aussie and ahead of the second USA
athlete. The race intensity of such a short event without any bike recovery time seemed to be
amplified by the excellent spectator support and the motivation to push hard with you name on the
GB Tri Suit!
The race was over:
We ambled (staggered on my part) back to transition to pick up kit and then to the hotel where we
both enjoyed the very smart hotel pool to cool off and recover. The hotel staff were very accepting
of the strange antics of athletes, when they were obviously more used to very smart tourists! A
shower and a short rest and we headed for a late lunch at a café on the seafront to reflect on our
One of the main downsides of the race was the lack of medals, unless you made the podium or
counted the virtual certificate capsule that was emailed to us the next day. This was labelled as
being eco-friendly – but not many competitors were impressed. It was particularly sad for those
competing in their first international event who had nothing to show that they had completed a
World Championship race. Maybe this is the way races are heading in the future. In my view Munich
judged it better by handing out wooden medals.