Pattana triathlon 2015 – Chonburi

June 2, 2015

The popularity of triathlons is on the rise in Asia. You can easily witness that yourself by checking the huge number of new triathlons being organized every year. One of those new triathlons which had its first edition this year was the Pattana triathlon 2015 which took place on Sunday May 17.

The beautiful surroundings of the Pattana Golf Club. From a distance the artificial lake where the swim will take place looks inviting

The beautiful surroundings of the Pattana Golf Club. From a distance the artificial lake where the swim will take place looks inviting

This would be my first triathlon taking place on a golf course and I actually looked forward to the swimming part of this race. Normally the swim of a triathlon in Thailand takes place in the sea but this time we would have an artificial lake at our disposal and according to the organizers the water would be clean as they flush out the lake regularly to keep the rich golf people content. And boy, were they wrong about the quality of the swimming course. The day of the race I jumped in to get a feel for the visibility, water temperature, and best strategies to exit the lake, and it soon became clear that swimming in the sea would be preferred over this. The water was as green as it gets meaning I could not even see my own arms when swimming freestyle. Getting in and out of the water was also tricky as golf course have artificial lakes meaning the water gets deeper quickly when you move away from the edge and it was almost impossible to exit the lake without the help of others. They did put down sand bags but these bags were quickly pushed down by the athletes exiting the lake and lots of people started slipping on the slippery concrete underwater.

Placing myself at the front of pack when the race is about to start

Placing myself at the front of pack when the race is about to start

Also getting in the water was tricky as they had created a floating pier from which the athletes jumped in the water. By itself not a problem until you realize the pier was about 5 meters wide and 300 athletes start at the same time. I was able to put myself at the front of the pack and start my swim quickly but I can imagine people behind me having to wait before they could jump in to avoid jumping on top of each other.

Running towards the floating pier to start my second lap of swimming

Running towards the floating pier to start my second lap of swimming

After 2 rounds of swimming for the Olympic distance triathlon it was a long run to the transition point which took away all my breath. Normally the transition zone is maybe 10-20 meters from the water line but here it was a good 400 meters run to get there. The transition went relatively slow, maybe I should start improving on this part, but the bike course was a lot better than what I am used to. The roads were nice, there were few sharp corners, and due to some smaller climbs it was never boring. The officials also paid sharp attention to people drafting and I regularly saw motorbikes following people who were riding close together to make sure they did not stay at a similar distance for too long enjoying each other tailwind. Warning were given regularly if passing someone took too long and I was happy to see this happening, especially after the previous triathlons I joined where the drafting rules were totally disregarded.

Pattana triathlon 2015 biking

Prooudly sponsored by www.thailandfit.com

The final running part took us partly over the golf course and it was a tough run as there was little shadow to run in and large parts of the course was going up and down continuously. This does make the golf course interesting for golfers but for runners it makes it much more exhausting than a normal flat course.

The last part of the race consisted of a nice run over the golf course

The last part of the race consisted of a nice run over the golf course

It took me just over 2 hours and 38 minutes to reach the finish and I am very happy with my 30th overall place out of a field of just over 300 athletes. As usual there was a athletes-only area with free drinks and food and it took me quite some time to cool down as it was a warm day in Pattana. The bad news came later when it appeared one of the athletes never reached the transition zone and his body was found back in the lake. This is something that hit most of the participants pretty hard, even though it is unclear what the direct cause of the drowning was. Most of us experienced the swim as difficult and even though there were plenty of lifeguards present it must have been extremely hard for them to keep an eye on 300 people swimming in a small area with murky water limiting their view. May he rest in peace and I hope similar incidents will not take place in future events.

For questions/remarks you can contact me at: eric@stuckinthailand.com

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