The Ironman 70.3 Porec is a relatively recent addition to the half-distance racing calendar and while this amazingly picturesque race is only in its third year, Porec is now host to the biggest triathlon in Croatia and South East Europe
And it’s easy to see why.
The historical seaside town on the Istrian peninsula was already a popular destination for sporty types and tourists so throw in the organisational power of the M-Dot brand, and this 70.3 is perfect for triathletes and their supporters alike.
If you fancy racing abroad, then this triathlon really has the whole package – a swim course in warm, clear sea, a fast bike leg through stunning scenery topped off with sea-front run.
Aside from the physical stuff, with its beaches, marinas, cafes, cobbles and enough Roman ruins to satisfy the biggest Gladiator fan, a trip to Porec feels like you’re on your jollies.
And if all that is still not enough temptation, 30 qualifying age grouper slots to the IRONMAN 70.3 World championships 2024 in Taupo New Zealand are also up for grabs.
Table of contents
Location – Sun and sport
Sun, sea and sport – the three S’s that must surely add up to any triathlete’s paradise destination.
The race venue is all set within the Zelena holiday resort just south of the town with the race village spread across between the Hotel Molindrio Plava Laguna and the race’s official hotel, the 4 star Hotel Parentium Plava Laguna located right on the start/finish line. Discounts codes are available for race competitors.
The race village hosts the usual offerings from the 70.3 Expo, registration, race briefing, bike service and the welcome banquet alongside last minute swim and bike training sessions and the oh-so-needed post race massage and pasta party.
Getting to Porec is fairly simple with Pula, the nearest airport 45km away (Trieste and Venice airports are also options given its proximity to Italy) with public shuttle buses to transport you into the town.
If you hire a car, then just park up in one of the town’s many car parks when you first arrive and then go on foot for the rest of your stay as all the event locations are close by.
As one of Croatia’s most popular holiday resorts, there are literally hundreds of hotels, apartments, B&Bs etc to suit all tastes and wallets.
If you’re on a tight budget, Camping Zelena Laguna site is right next to the race village so you can just roll out of your tent and into your wetsuit.
Course – First timer and PB friendly
The course suits all levels whether your dipping your toe into the world of halves for the first time or you’re a 70.3 veteran chasing a World Champs slot.
Swim – 1.9km
Those who hate freezing cold lakes will find the warm, crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea with an average temperature of 18-20C (wetsuits are optional) truly inviting. The point -to-point swim route hugs the headland of the Zelena resort and finishes in a sheltered bay making it perfect for those not so confident in open water.
The route also makes it easy for spectators trying to spot you although the rolling start helps avoid the usual washing machine of bodies. And with both the start and finish on golden sandy beaches means no sharp pebbles, and just a sharp exit into T1.
BIKE – 90KM
T1 is just a short sprint across the race village then you’ll soon be on the out-and-back course which isn’t technically difficult and closed to traffic making it ideal for first timers. There are no big climbs – total elevation is just 600 metres – with three u-turns points on the undulating route.
The main leg takes you out into the spectacular countryside passed olive groves and vineyards (these aren’t the water stations before you ask!) onto a long highway stretch where you can really put the hammer down and go for that PB. In fact, the race organisers recommend a time-trial bike, if you were looking for an excuse to buy one…
RUN – 21KM
The run is a rolling two-lap, out and back course with a gorgeous route that takes you along the coast all the way to the centre of Poreč and north towards the bay of Saladinka before heading back south towards Zelena resort.
Hopefully the spectacular views of the glistening Adriatic Sea and medieval city of Porec will provide enough distraction from burning thighs and lungs until you hit the red carpet finish line and get that iconic medal around your neck.
Spectators – Family and tourist friendly
Set across the Zelena holiday resort, the race village offers all the usual facilities like toilets and food and sponsors stalls as well as the Ironman Expo where you can pick up exciting new kit or just a few extra inner tubes.
In the race village nothing is more than a five minute walk away, so supporters can happily spend the day following the action and soaking up the atmosphere as well as grabbing the best spots at the start/finish lines and the transition zones.
The swim course around the Zelena resort headland is probably the most spectator friendly part but friends and family can easily walk out along the seaside route to watch the runners pounding up and down the seafront.
Just be warned – don’t let anyone including your kids join you crossing the finish line or after all that effort, you’ll be DQed!
Most of the course is accessible for spectators with disabilities and thanks to the wonders of technology, anyone can simply follow the race from the comfort of their sun-lounger by downloading the Ironman tracking app.
Why Race IRONMAN 70.3 Porec
RACE-cation – A Roman holiday
For that well-earned post-race holiday, Peroc has something to entertain you and the whole family.
If sunbathing on the golden sands becomes too much, head to the old town with its warren of cobbled streets filled with charming cafes by day and buzzing bars by night.
The town’s countless restaurants are the perfect place to sample the local delicacies – seafood is on every menu and you won’t find truffles, usually eye wateringly expensive, anywhere cheaper!
A culture vulture? Once a Roman settlement, there are Roman sites around every corner and the sixth century gem-filled mosaics in the Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a must-see.
Even when shopping on Decumanus Street, one of the Peroc’s busiest retail spots, the architecture looks like its barely changed from the days of Julius Caesar.
And heading back even further in time, kids will love the thrill of going underground into the magnificent Baredine Cave, a grotto filled with impressive stalagmite and stalactites 6km north of the town.
Further afield in Istria, there are loads of day trips for foodies such as olive oil tasting and of course, some fabulous local wineries but just make you’ve decided who is the designated driver…