On October 6, the town of Calella in Barcelona-Maresme will once again be the centre of attention of the international triathlon scene, for CHALLENGE BARCELONA, which as well as celebrating its fifth anniversary, is also doubling this year as the Spanish Long Distance Triathlon Championship.
A total of 1,350 triathletes have confirmed their presence at an event in which 71% of the sportspeople are coming from abroad. No fewer than 35 different nationalities are represented, including the host nation, Spain.
Challenge Barcelona has once again attracted some of the biggest names in long distance racing. Austria’s Andréj Vistica, winner of the European Long Distance Championships at Challenge Vichy (France), is a clear candidate for a podium finish, but he is up against some tough competition from the likes of Tom Lowe (GBR) recent winner at Challenge Henley-on-Thames, Austria’s Georg Swoboda, runner-up at Challenge Barcelona 2012, Germany’s Markus Fachbach, fourth at the famous Challenge Roth event, and many more.
In the women’s event, Eva Wutti is not only an obvious candidate for the title, but also has an excellent chance of beating the event record, which was set by Great Britain’s Lucy Gossage in 2012 (08:58:43). Lucie Zelenková-Reed of the Czech Republic and Annette Finger of Germany are two of the other most prominent entrants, along with the UK’s Yvette Grice.
As for the host country, the favourites for not just the podium but also the title of Spanish Long Distance Champion include Richard Calle, Jose Luis Cano and Aimar Aguirresarobe, while the big favourite in the ladies’ event is the defending Spanish champion, Gurutze Frades.
Challenge Barcelona also features more than 1,300 age group triathletes. Once again, there are some great stories of personal endeavour as people chase their dreams. Dr Justin Roberts of the University of Hertfordshire (UK), a senior lecturer and researcher who specialises in performance nutrition and physiology, is bringing 80 participants as part of his study of individual, physical and psychological performance in feats of extreme endurance. Other notable entrants include Victor Tastende of “From Tetraplegia to Challenge Barcelona” fame and Ramón Arroyo, who has multiple sclerosis and is seeking to use his “IM4EM” challenge to show how sport can help to improve the lives not only of people with this illness, but of people in general, such as the hundreds that will be gathering at the start line on October 6 on the shores of the Mediterranean.