THAI­LAND HEAT

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - T1 -

to this clas­sic event. Karen Smy­ers was the women’s win­ner of the first La­guna Phuket Triathlon and she re­turned last year to cel­e­brate the 24th an­niver­sary of her win.

There are no longer any ele­phant escorts, but the race con­tin­ues as a clas­sic test of mul­tisport fit­ness. The day starts with a 1.8 km swim, which in­cludes 1.3 km of swim­ming in the ocean, fol­lowed by a short run up the beach and into a la­goon for the final 500 m. The water is typ­i­cally quite warm (es­pe­cially in the la­goon, where the water tem­per­a­ture can be over 30 C), so wet­suits aren’t an op­tion. That’s fol­lowed by a 50-km bike that starts off flat and tech­ni­cal as the course winds its way through many of the lo­cal vil­lages. The course gets in­creas­ingly more “rolling” un­til the final 10 km, which fea­tures three short, but very steep climbs – one ac­tu­ally in­cludes an 18-de­gree pitch. The final 5 km are rel­a­tively flat as the ath­letes re­turn to the re­sort to start the run.

With air tem­per­a­tures well into the 30s and ex­tremely high hu­mid­ity, the 12 km run is a chal­lenge, no mat­ter how fit you are. The twoloop run course fea­tures nu­mer­ous aid sta­tions, all stocked with lots of ice and drinks, which help get the ath­letes through the tough event.

As chal­leng­ing as the race might be, though, it is well worth the trip, es­pe­cially if you can take some time to en­joy the re­sort. Launched in 1987 as the “first in­te­grated re­sort in Asia,” La­guna Phuket is made up of 1,000 acres of land­scaped trop­i­cal grounds with a num­ber of pic­turesque la­goons. There’s three kilo­me­tres of beau­ti­ful white sandy beach front, a golf course and nu­mer­ous other sport­ing and leisure ac­tiv­i­ties. The high­light of a stay at La­guna Phuket has to be one of the seven dif­fer­ent ho­tel or villa op­tions. We stayed at the Outrig­ger Re­sort, which fea­tured a huge

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