Finally, an event that many swimmers in Qatar have been eagerly awaiting for, the first annual Qatar Open Water Swimming Championships, 2014. The setting for the swim, a beautiful stretch of coastline along Doha city centre called The Corniche.
Famous for its stunning skyline and fabulous boardwalk, The Corniche, is usually off limits for recreational swimming. For the locals and those living in Doha, this is a once-off opportunity to swim along the most beautiful stretch of coastline in Qatar. The course runs out and back, parallel to the boardwalk, allowing for great spectator viewing.
Doha Corniche Skyline: Course – Race Briefing
The Start Pontoon
The pre-race briefing was held on Thursday, 1 May. This allowed swimmers the opportunity to head down to the Corniche, to familiarise themselves with the course and to ask any questions that they may have had. The expected weather forecast for raceday was 40 degrees centigrade and a water temperature of 27 degrees, this was to be spot on. Continue reading →
The Aspire Aquathon series is a great concept and it is starting to get interesting in the 2014 series. The series consist of 5 races, with your best three results to count. In my case, I have steadily improved race on race, which means as each race goes, my series position is climbing substantially.
Race 4 was an interesting one as the weather is starting to get a lot warmer and this particular event was hot, humid and windy. Traditionally I don’t handle the warmth too well, which is why open water swimming has always suited me better than pool swimming. In pool swimming the temperature is set between 24 to 27 degrees centigrade whereas open water swimming season is normally below 20 degrees.
The third race in the Aspire Aquathon series took place on 12 January 2014. After a solid month of training since the last event, my expectations were a lot higher and I was keen to test myself.
Having recently started training with an awesome Garmin 910xt Heart Rate monitor and GPS watch, I have been able to monitor my speed a lot more closely and have found myself training harder as a result. The Garmin 910xt is great in that it gives you real time pacing, allowing me to train at desired speeds and keep exact track of how far I’m going.
To summarize event one and two in the series thus far: Event 1 – swim 06m15s, run 25m49s (32m34s): 17th place. Event 2 – swim 06m25s, run 23m19s (30m09s): 9th place.
Having not run for so long (nearly two years), the initial improvement has been great, now I just need to keep it up. The body is adjusting well to more land based exercise again, where for the past two years everything has been in the water.
I started off with a slightly slower than usual swim (planned) 06m25 for the 10 laps of 50m. With the staggered time trial like start, I was second last to go, seeding based on swim times. Out the pool and into transition, I had a 5km run ahead of me. My goal was to run at 4m24s/km to get a run split of 22 minutes and finally get under 30 minutes for the first time in the series.
The run went really well and I held my target spot on. Ended up with a run split of 22m01s and a total time of 29m01s for the race. After the results were tallied, I had finished in 4th place, just 15 seconds from a podium finish. I was very happy with the race, I can’t wait for Event 4 at the end of February 2014.
One hour north of Doha lies the city of Al Khor, an Oil and Gas town. Al Khor Community is a compound type development or town within a town, hosted it’s annual Al Khor Triathlon. The facilities within Al khor Community are fantastic. The race consisted of a 700m pool swim, 22km cycle, 4 loops and then a 5km run through the Al Khor Community.
Being my first Triathlon since 2011 Clan William Fitness Festival, I was rusty. A mix up with my race pack (by the organisers) resulted in me sitting at the registration table for nearly 45 minutes, the time I had planned to study the route and get ready to race. Being a strong swimmer I always make a concerted effort to know the bike course as I’m normally first onto it with no one to follow.