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The Championship History: What makes the racing in Šamorín so special?

The Championship holds a special place in the heart of many, and is a must watch event on the Challenge Family circuit.

Staff Reporter
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This weekend, The Championship will host its seventh annual event in Šamorín, Slovakia, with several of the best athletes in the world lining up on Sunday May 19.

Past winners include IRONMAN World Champions Lucy Charles-Barclay, Sebastian Kienle and Gustav Iden, with the course records held by defending champions India Lee and Mathis Margirier.

In our look back at the history of the event, we explore the factors that make the race so special and explain why The Championship is a staple of the racing calendar.

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A brilliant race course

Having hosted the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships in 2022, and the Collins Cup in 2021 and 2022, Šamorín and the x-bionic sphere have firmly established themselves as a centrepiece for triathlon racing in Central Europe.

Challenge Samorin/The Championship race venue x-bionic sphere

Located on the banks of the Danube River, the x-bionic sphere and the surrounding area is a brilliant location for triathlon racing, and the venue, coupled with the atmosphere created by the amateur athletes and local fans, is incredible.

On race day, spectators line the course, with the run in particular, which consists of five laps over varied terrain, very fan friendly and always drawing a roaring crowd.

Doubling as the National Triathlon Centre for Slovakia, the x-bionic sphere is a multi-sport paradise, and as a result ‘The Championship’ attracts amateur athletes for both a brilliant race and a fantastic holiday.

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Top class competition

Another reason why The Championship is so popular is its status as a battle between the best athletes in the world, with triathlon world champions regularly choosing to make the trip over to Slovakia.

Rico Bogen wins the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships
[Photo Credit – Nigel Roddis Getty Images for IRONMAN]

This season, IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Rico Bogen will lineup for his first professional appearance in Šamorín, having previously won the age group event, which he has shared was the catalyst for kickstarting his transition to pro racing.

Charles-Barclay, with IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3 and World Long Distance titles to her name, is the most successful athlete in the history of the race, with three successive victories spanning from 2017 to 2019 at the x-bionic sphere.

Kienle, Iden and Lionel Sanders, who have all won here, raced to take on the best in the world, and to compete for a portion of the 100,000 prize purse and 400 Challenge Family World Bonus points up for grabs.

Els Visser t100 Singapore 2024 run finish photo credit PTO
Els Visser bags a podium place in Singapore [Photo credit: PTO]

In 2024, eleven men and nine women from the PTO World Top 40 will race, with all three of the men’s podium from the 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship racing plus T100 Triathlon World Tour podium finishers India Lee, Pieter Heemeryck and Els Visser.

To find out how to watch the race live this weekend, and for more information on who you can expect to see racing in the professional fields, click here.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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