Bora Games Triathlon

The end of February marked the running of the inaugural Bora Games Triathlon, an event (open to tourists & locals alike) set to become an annual event. A short-course – 1km swim/22km bike/7km – ‘fun’ triathlon for individual athletes or in teams of 3 undertaken in the stunningly beautiful waters of world famous Matira Beach & surrounded by the equally stunning mountain-line piercing high into the skies & dominated by Mt Otemanu where god is held to have descended on Bora Bora atop a rainbow……… You’ll lose your breath one way or another!

The word ‘triathlon’ derives from the ancient Greek term meaning ‘three contests’. In the modern era regular competitions involving 3 separate disciplines can be traced back to France in the early 1900’s. The modern triathlon as we know it, conducted in the swim/bike/run format, however, flows from the competition started in California in 1974.

Bora Bora is no stranger to triathletes – Australian Greg Welch was here less than 3 months ago for the Bora Bora Ironmana Liquid Festival. Perhaps the greatest triathlete of all times Greg dominated World Triathlons in the 1990’s winning ‘The Grand Slam” – the World Championships, the Ironman World Championships, the Duathlon World Championships & the Long Course Triathlon World Championships. Incredibly he underwent 9 open heart surgeries between 2001-2003 (but he is still going strong):


I was joined today by Bora Bora’s leading Professional Photographer Stephan Debelle. Most, if not all, of the quality photos that follow were provided by Stephan for the enjoyment of readers.

Competitors ready themselves for what lies ahead:




Today’s Bora Games Triathlon started with a 1km swim in the world’s most beautiful lagoon – just check it out even on an overcast rainy day:


The swim was an interesting test of the aquatic abilities taking swimmers to a marker where the strength of the current in an outgoing tide made the turn difficult for many. In the relative distances of today’s event a good start in the swim would see the competitor well positioned for a place on the winners dias.

A deep water start (rather than one from the beach which many would prefer):


“And last shall be first”………………..:


Transition from water where blood is pumped to the upper body, to bike where blood is pumped down to the legs… & the rain kept tumbling down:



The transition from the 22km bike to the 7km run:



This was a gutsy pedal:


Some shots of the finish with teams running the last sprint along Matira Beach as a unit:





Radio Bora Bora legend Haunui crosses the line after the run leg looking ready to do it all over again:


Second place in the teams event:


The winning combination:


First & second home in the individual contest:



The winners from the crowd’s point of view:


Some reflections following a great day with competitors clearly pleased to have participated….……

  1. Race Distance

There are International Triathlon Union (ITU) standard distances for triathlons covering everything from kids to ironmen. Within this framework there are several options which IMHO would  suit the event, for example, the ‘Sprint Triathlon’ distance – 750m swim/20km bike/5kmrun or the ‘Super Sprint’ – 400m/10km/2.5km. These distances are framed by the ITU to ensure a ‘fair’ distribution of the ‘importance’ of each leg, they would better suit likely weather conditions, provide a good work-out whilst fitting the concept of an enjoyable outing, more closely match the relative levels of fitness of participants & provide a framework to attract more competitors.

  1. Race Start

The event is conducted in the afternoon to fit the needs of those who work on Saturday mornings but should truly be run in the cool of the morning being more ‘comfortable’ for participants & presenting less risk to competitors, factors which logically could see a greater level of participation. Additionally given tourism is the economic motor of Bora Bora conducting the event in the morning at Matira makes for a SENSATIONAL opportunity to give the event & the island stunning visual, photographic & video coverage once again increasing the potential number of participants.

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