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Bike riders, walkers and runners take to the track at Yas Marina last night in preparation for Tri Yas, which has been billed as the first triathlon to be held at a Formula One circuit.
Delores Johnson Staff Photographer
Bike riders, walkers and runners take to the track at Yas Marina last night in preparation for Tri Yas, which has been billed as the first triathlon to be held at a Formula One circuit.
Tri Yas will give competitors the opportunity to participate at a range of different levels, according to organisers.
Delores Johnson Staff Photographer
Tri Yas will give competitors the opportunity to participate at a range of different levels, according to organisers.

Triathlon race at Yas Marina will make for spectacle

Troy Watson, venue manager at Yas Marina, said between 250 and 300 athletes have registered for 'Tri Yas' - the first triathlon on an Formula One circuit.

ABU DHABI // The humdrum of engines has evaporated at Yas Marina Circuit and a series of splashes is set to fill the void this afternoon when, at midday, the first of 567 competitors leap from the side of the marina dock and start the venue's inaugural triathlon.

"Tri Yas", billed as the first triathlon to be held at a Formula One circuit, aims to appeal to a broad spectrum of sport enthusiasts and thus will provide competitors the opportunity to participate at a range of different levels.

"Olympic-standard" sees athletes complete a 1.5-km swim in the marina, followed by a 40km cycle - the equivalent of seven laps of the F1 track - and a 10km run along the drag strip.

Troy Watson, venue manager at Yas Marina, said between 250 and 300 athletes have registered to take part at Olympic level.

Watson, a time-served triathlete who has since 2007 competed around the world, including in Hawaii and China, added that the set-up and location of today's event promises to provide some spectacular sights.

"It is a very unique triathlon in that we have roads that are completely closed off, which allows us to start slightly later," he said. "That is nice for the athletes because they are used to being up and ready to begin in the dark, but it should also make it more a spectator event as the weather here is just so lovely this time of year.

"Transitions will take place in the pit lanes, so the guys will be hopping out the marina into the pits where they will grab their bikes and head out, down through the tunnel, and on to the track. Then when they finish their cycle, again they will be back in the pits, rack their bikes and run out on to the drag strip. It's going to be pretty special to watch."

The concept for Tri Yas originated from within the venue's staff, who were keen to help Richard Cregan, the circuit's chief executive, realise his goal of making the multi-billion-dirham project accessible and available to non-motorsports fans of all levels of fitness.

The Sprint Distance Relay category involves a three-person team, with each member taking on one of the three legs: 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

"The way Tri Yas has been designed will appeal to everyone from the most accomplished triathletes, who have been waiting for an Olympic-distance triathlon in the UAE, to people who are generally interested in fitness and want to try out the shorter distances or the relay," Watson said.

Today's event is also hoped to be viewed as a preparatory warm-up ahead of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on March 12.

Information

Time: Gates open at 9am. First participants dive into the water at 12pm
Who: 567 registered participants, between 250-300 of which are competing in Olympic-standard category
Categories: Four race categories, making the eventís appeal more accessible to a broader audience

Standard (Olympic) Distance Individual
1.5km swim, 40 bike,
10km run
Swim course: 2 laps
Bike course: 7 laps
Run course: 2 laps

Sprint / Novice Distance Individual
750m swim, 20km bike,
5km run
Swim course: 1 lap
Bike course: 4 laps
Run course: 1 lap

Standard Distance Team
Relay
Three-person team, with each person taking on one of the following legs:
1.5km swim, 40km bike,
10km run
Swim course: 2 laps
Bike course: 7 laps
Run course: 2 laps

Sprint Distance Team Relay
Three-person team, with each person taking on one of the following legs:
750m swim, 20km bike,
5km run
Swim course: 1 lap
Bike course: 4 laps
Run course: 1 lap

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