Sunday 19 November 2017

Ever wanted to... do the tough Norseman triathlon?

Athletes jump from a ferry into the Hardangerfjorden for the start of the 2013 Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Eodfjord, Norway.
Athletes jump from a ferry into the Hardangerfjorden for the start of the 2013 Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Eodfjord, Norway.

Highs: Being lucky enough to be awarded a black top and gaining the title of "Norseman".

Lows: The difficult conditions and particularly, the challenging second half of the running leg.

Held in Norway in early August each year, the Norseman Triathlon is an extreme triathlon and has been classed as the most difficult on the planet. It consists of a point-to-point race over the equivalent distances of swimming, running and cycling undertaken in an ironman.

The race involves a 3.8km swim in the numbing Hardangerfjord, followed by a 180km bike ride on hilly and mountainous terrain, and a 42.2km run with challenging ascents to finish.

The race is unsupported meaning that each individual participant has to provide their own personal backup crew for the event, following them in cars with necessary hydration and nutrition products to get them through the gruelling race.

The support crew need to be of adequate fitness levels to follow participants up the final mountain climb.

There are cut-off times to complete each section of the race. Each racer is required to have left the water after a maximum of two hours and 15 minutes, while entrants are required to have exited the transition zone between the bike and run after 12 hours. There are also several further cut-off points at intersections along the course route thereafter.

Cold and chilly waters are to be expected with temperatures as low as 13 degrees Celsius not out of the ordinary. Each participant is required to wear a wetsuit.

The mountainous and hilly nature of both the cycle and the run make this truly one of the most challenging races available. If the water is too cold, visibility is too poor and in cases of high waves, the location of the swim might be changed into a circuit swim.

Strict health checks of participants and checkpoint deadlines determine whether individuals can carry on to different sections of the race. Each competitor who finishes the race receives a black top and is awarded the title "Norseman".

The race record is 10:23:43 held by Henrik Oftedal.

Date: August 2.

Course: The swim is 3.8km long in Hardangerfjord. Participants take a plunge from a ferry into the dark, deep depths of the icy cold fjord.

The cycle is 180km in length starting from Eidfjord at the Hardangerfjord; across Hardangervidda to Geilo, across Dagalifjell to Uvdall, over Imingfjell to Tessungdalen, and finishing in Austbyge at Lake Tinnsjoen.

The run is 42.2km long from Austbygde to Rjukan, and to the top of Mount Gaustatoppen. The first 25km are run on fairly flat terrain, while there is a consistently steep ascent for the remaining 17.2km.

How to get there/ Where to stay?

Return flights from Dublin to Bergen, the closest airport at 150km from the location, currently sit at as little €260. There is plenty of information about accommodation options on the official website at tourist_information.


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