WITC at the Gdynia Herbalife Triathlon, August 10th-11th, 2013 – by Ken Globerman
August 10th and 11th, 2013 marked an important weekend in Poland’s triathlon history. The Herbalife Triathlon, once a mainstay in the quaint town of Susz, moved to Poland’s north shore – specifically to the tri-miasto city of Gdynia. And of course Warsaw International Triathlon Club was there to participate.
Weekend conditions were quite decent, with air temperatures in the high 20’s Celsius, water temperature of 19c and partly cloudy skies. Saturday featured an “aquathlon”, 1000-meter swim followed by a 5k run, while Sunday featured the premiere event – the ½ Ironman distance triathlon.
On Saturday, WITC was out to support Ela Skrzypek (Poland) and Xiaopeng Shen (China) participating in this special swim + run duathlon. The race was a great way to get a feel for the Baltic Sea and follow it up with a short run around Gdynia’s harbor and seaside.
Next it was time for Sunday’s 1300+ competitors to pick up race packets and get bikes situated in the transition zone. This was one of the strangest transition zones ever. Featuring only 2 rows for bicycles and 500+ meters in length! And wow, the high-end triathlon bikes were out in style! The field was definitely quite serious.
On race morning, everyone’s concern for a potentially difficult swim was relieved. The water was calm, clear and warm. The race started without a hitch, and competitors hit the water ALL at once (no wave start). The swim in the Baltic bay was very enjoyable – leading to a swift transition to the bike portion – three 30km laps around an industrial portion of Gdynia. On every pass back into the center, Gdynia’s residents really came out in style; cheering, applauding, screaming and giving out fluids. The atmosphere was alive with music.
The run course was simply awesome – making its way through downtown Gdynia 4 times. Half the circuit was along the main street full of screaming supporters and the other half was along the Baltic seaside. Just a beautiful course. And the race ended on Gdynia’s historic harbor pier. Well done all around and a great race.
Of course WITC was out in style – and the opinion about Gdynia was unanimous among our competitors.
“The Gdynia ½ was an excellent event”, says WITC’s Maciej Brzezinski. “A lot of Polish celebrities. I improved my PR from 6:20 to 5:57 so I’m really happy.”
“A big round of applause to Gdynia!”, says WITC’s Kyle Bowers. “Lots of energy and enthusiasm along the routes. The city, race organizers, volunteers and especially the fans were all great. I was certainly satisfied with the race as a whole for my first half ironman triathlon. The wind was a little annoying during the ride but the temperature was almost ideal. Bring on Chodziez!”
Several other family and friends of our competitors
You can view the WITC photo album here.
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