Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2013

March 7th, 2013 by

This past weekend I was back in Abu Dhabi for my third visit to the Emirate. I was hoping for 3rd time lucky with regards to my race result – having had two good results on the previous trips I have come to think on it as a happy hunting ground. I guess all good things come to an end though!

Exiting the water in front of eventual winner Fred Van Lierde

Exiting the water in front of eventual winner Fred Van Lierde

I have plenty of good memories of racing in Abu Dhabi. I really believe the distances suit me well and unlike many longer distance races the swim seems to play a bigger part in the way the race pans out, which is of course a good thing for me usually. I am also partial to racing in the odd spot of sunshine too!

Ali was able to travel out with me again this year, and given that I had spent the entire year so far away travelling and racing we were both looking forward to spending some time together to relax a little, whilst yet both fretting about the prospect of such a long race ahead. Some things never change!


As ever one of the major attractions for everyone racing in Abu Dhabi – the Professional athletes most certainly included – is the chance to get to race our bikes around one of the most iconic sports arenas on the planet. – The Yas Marina F1 track is quite something and this year we had a course alteration on the bike route which gave us 3 consecutive bites at the cherry so to speak, as opposed to the single lap we rode in previous years here. If you ever decide to go to race in Abu Dhabi, and maybe you will next year, be sure to have a good look as you cycle around the track, as its quite special!


I had a great start to my race on Saturday. I had a clean swim, leading the field through the first lap of the 3K swim course and exited through transition in 2nd spot. All things going to plan. I settled into a good tempo during the early portion of the bike and our group quickly whittled down to 6 athletes as we hit the Yas F1 arena. I felt strong and was pleased with how the race seemed to be unfolding. Nonetheless this race is a lesson in patience and making sure you conserve every ounce of energy for the latter stages. It’s about ‘he who slows down the slowest’ more than most, especially as the mercury creeps up during the day. I enjoy racing in the heat and don’t feel it affects me any more than most, despite my obvious Scottishness 😉

Unfortunately it was not to be my day and with one final lap of the race to go – roughly 130k into the day – I had to concede defeat and reluctantly watch the 5 guys ride away from me. I simply didn’t have the minerals on the day you might say.


I hit T2 feeling somewhat better than I had done 70k previously and was hoping for some form of mini turnaround in my racing fortune during the 20k run along the promenade. Indeed for the first lap of 2 I was moving fairly well all things considered. Despite moving my way to a distant 9th place the wheels well and truly fell off with 5k of running to go. Of those 5 I walked 3 to get myself back to the finish, but finish I did, and on a day when many others didn’t I was pleased I didn’t consider (for too long anyway) the easy way out (or off) of the race.

A big thank you must go to IMG and their staff for looking after us so well during the days leading up to the event. If you are considering Abu Dhabi next year I would sincerely encourage you to do so. It is an extremely well run and managed race with fantastic support. I for sure will be back!