Kazakh athletes to participate in world’s most complex triathlon for first time

ASTANA – Four triathletes from Almaty, Elena Kun, Madina Kurmanbayeva, Elfira Dudnik and Anel Sydykova, have announced that they will be competing in the 480-kilometre Enduroman Arch to Arc, the most complex triathlon in the world.

“In July, our team, Iron Moms KZ, is going to take part in the multi-day Enduroman Arch-Arc ultra-triathlon. This is the first attempt from Kazakhstan, and therefore it is especially exciting for each of us… We sincerely believe that serious training and our extensive experience of participating in challenging triathlon races will help us achieve our big goal,” Kun wrote on her Facebook page.

The Enduroman Arch to Arc is an extreme ultra-triathlon, the total length of which is close to 480 kilometres. It starts from the Marble Arch in London and finishes at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The sequence of stages is non-standard: the athletes first run to Dover (140 kilometres), then swim through the English Channel (approximately 36 kilometres), then cycle (290 kilometres).

“The rules are quite tough. The referee accompanies the athlete along the entire route. The race must begin no later than 48 hours before the scheduled swim. During the swim, the athlete cannot touch the boat. Recovery before the cycling phase is no more than 12 hours,” says the Almaty Triathlon Federation.

The ultra-triathlon’s routes are quite difficult. The running route contains several hills, as does the cycling route, and traffic isn’t blocked, making it harder. Crossing the English Channel is considered one of the most difficult swimming marathons in the world because of the low temperature of the water and the tides, which usually lengthen the distance.

To register on Arch to Arc, athletes must have experience running, swimming and cycling long distances and confirm this with documents. They must also pass a six-hour swimming test in water temperatures lower than 16 degrees Celsius.

Reserving a place in the ultra-triathlon for 2019 costs $396. The cost of the race is $4,618. Accompanying the boat during the swim costs from $3,825 to $4,221.

Demand for this triathlon is high, and registered athletes sometimes have to wait a year or two for their turn to come up.

Director and organiser of Enduroman Arch to Arc Edgar Ette completed the first ultra-triathlon in 2001. His time of completion is 81 hours and five minutes. The final finisher for now is Rachel Hill, who reached the Arc de Triomphe in August 2017, 88 hours and 30 minutes after the start. The best time belongs to the French Cyril Blanchard in 2016, who finished in 59 hours 56 minutes.

“The Arch to Arc record is a relative concept. Equal racing here does not happen. You can be stopped for a while in Dover, because of unexpected changes in weather conditions or you can face road closures. The time does not stop,” said the Almaty Triathlon Federation.