I received an email recently from the Ironman Cozumel team that showed the following:

This is such a big deal I cannot pass up the opportunity to write about it. I’ve written a lot of posts of race reports, but those are all after the fact. This is something that anyone who is looking for an Ironman event to do and hasn’t done this race needs know about. I did this race in 2012 with three friends, and it was a spectacular race then. The change to the swim course will undoubtedly make it an even better event.

This race has sold out the past five years. It is definitely a destination race since it is on the island of Cozumel which is by far the best place I’ve visited in Mexico. The industry in Cozumel is tourism, and the island is committed to being a premier tourism destination. The race can be on the warm side, and there are winds on the bike course to battle, but overall it is a fast course with spectacular support from the community.

The swim is amazing, but the new design will make it even better. Previously the course began in a depth that required treading water, and it began in the opposite direction that is shown in the picture. The current is so strong it definitely gave an advantage to strong swimmers, but it was so strong that there were a lot of athletes that couldn’t even get across the start line, and more that couldn’t make it past the turn to start heading to the left as pictured above. Finally, the old course ended up coming back into the strong current for the finish.

The swim definitely makes the triathlon an interesting event, but it is such a small component of the race that having a challenging race ends up ruining a lot of athletes’ day. The strongest swimmers make great triathletes, not because they are strong swimmers, but because they are strong cyclists and runners too. There are plenty of marginal swimmers that end up finishing on the podium, or qualifying for Kona, because they are great on the bike and run. The swim is generally not the deciding factor for who is on the podium. It does affect the weakest swimmers that are not podium contenders and just need to get through the swim within the cutoff time so that they can spend the rest of the day on the bike and run to finish an epic event that may have been a lifelong goal. For athletes looking to qualify for Kona, this is a great race to do that. It is at the end of the year, when fitness is at its best, and then you get to roll into the winter months for a break. If you qualify, you have all year to prep for Kona since you’ll be racing in October 2015.

Besides the new point to point swim course, this course is amazing for any triathlete. The water is warm, so it is not wetsuit legal. The warm water is so comfortable though, and it is so clear that it truly is a joy to swim in. The bike course is just as amazing. It has some windy sections, but the views of the coast are incredible, and overall it is a flat and fast course. The run goes through the town and resort areas where there are so many local families out cheering for you as well as tourists cheering with a margarita in one hand and a cowbell in the other.

The race is on November 30, 2014, and Thanksgiving is on November 27, so it is a different but spectacular way to spend this holiday weekend. Check out the Ironman Cozumel website and register here. If you are interested in having a coach for this event, please contact me. I am familiar with this event, including the travel, the lodging, and exactly what you will need to do to have a great race whether that means qualifying for Kona, or finishing before midnight.