Ironman and Medio Ironman in Cozumel

Filed under: Local Events - by Isabella Biava

Ironman or Half Ironman: If you think triathlon is tough, I am afraid you will have to think again!

There is more, much more than that. On October 2nd, in Cozumel, the Metlife Half-Ironman competition will take place, also known as the 70.3, in other words, the sum of three distances: a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1 mile (21.1 km) run. What’s more, for those who still consider it to be an easy feat, the following month, on November 17th, the full Ironman: 3.8km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42 km run (one after another) will be held in the same place. We didn’t know the human body was capable of this (perhaps in all fairness, it is not), but it is indeed possible for the human mind.

“If you can believe it, you can achieve it”, says the popular refrain, and apparently, it is so.

Just like the triathlon event (ITU) in September, the Cozumel Half Ironman and Ironman are qualifying events for the World Ironman Championship, which takes places in Hawaii, and commemorates the place where this super-hero competition was first conceived, in February 1978.

The Cozumel Ironman is very much appreciated by athletes because they have the chance to enjoy the beauty of the Riviera Maya after the race, and about 2000 competitors gather here every year from all over the world, of every category and level. There are of course different categories according to age.


As for the 70.3, professionals can complete the entire circuit in less than 4 hours, while the amateurs will be happy to do it in 5 or 6. If you don’t cross the finish line within 8 hours you don’t get your medal. It must be very disappointing indeed to leave without a medal, although you know that after all the training you have been through, you are already a winner for being there and asking your body to give such a performance. You know in your heart that you have won your own competition with yourself! But rules are rules, and slowing down is something which anyone may have to do, at any level, be it due to a cramp, a flat tire, and so on, meaning that you lose ground, even if it’s only for a matter of minutes. Experienced Ironmen know it can happen and are also prepared for defeat. Nevertheless, they are all winners to me.


Amateurs train between 2 and 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, all year round! They must, if they want to keep up with the big guys! If you are a professional, you dedicate your day to training, eating, training, and sleeping! That’s their job. It’s hard, and since we only see them on the day of the competition, we don’t really always understand the hard work that it takes to get there and up onto the podium. It’s a constant competition with your own body and mind, every single day.

The circuit in Cozumel is apparently very easy because it is a flat island with no hills. However, there are other kinds of obstacles which make it a very challenging competition, beside the mileage. The swimming leg takes place in Chankanaab Park, a beautiful location with its challenges in the shape of currents; the cycle leg, on the east side of the island, is very windy and thus doesn’t really make it easy. The run, on the other hand, is more inland, within the town centre, where it is extremely hot, not only for the athletes who are not used to warm temperatures, but also for the local competitors. There are always lots of refreshment points to get water and hydration.


Here you can find here a very detailed description of the route. 

It is a great event, full of excitement and joy, even if you are just watching and supporting your favourite athlete, or country. We always get emotional when we see such a showcase of effort, passion and determination. It would be a good opportunity for you to visit Cozumel during this special event.

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