This year's Abu Dhabi International Triathlon was a raging success. The event was held on the same course as last year and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. While last years' event drew some top talent, this year there were even more top athletes including Craig Alexander and Faris Al-Sultan, winners of the Ironman World Championships. The attraction was no doubt due to the $50,000 top prize for both men and women.
Like last years' race, the distances were long (3 klilmeter swim, 200 kilometer cycle, 20 kilometer run) and short (1.5 km swim, 100 km cycle, 10 km run). Unlike last year, there was an added "sprint" (750 meter swim, 50 km cycle, 5 km run). To me a 50 km cycle doesn't constitute a sprint, but there you go.
This year there was a lot more interaction with the top athletes. They buzzed by me a few times throughout the day. I made jokes about seeing how many elite athletes would swear at me for getting in their way. While I never got in anyone's way, the race was pretty tight and could easily have been affected by a slower athlete. The difference between 1st place and 4th place was 32 seconds. The difference in prize money was $40,000 with 1st place getting $50,000 and the 4th place athlete taking home $10,000. You'd have to be annoyed at yourself after that.
Also, I was a little disappointed that there were less giveaways than last year. I got some nice towels and a backpack last year, but not much this year. Apart from that, I felt it was a good event that is growing in popularity. Now, I'm exhausted and am going to bed.