Some of the most physically fit athletes in the world are converging on the German capital for one of the most grueling tests in sports.
It takes a rare breed to be able to partake in an Ironman competition. You test your body in ways you never thought imaginable. Watching some competitors physically break down, their bodies failing to move another step, can be hard to watch.
The high that would come from completing one of these events must be second to none, though. You know you're tough if you can handle something as difficult as this.
The Ironman 70.3 is a series of events from August 2012 to August 2013, culminating in the world championship in Henderson, Nev. Racers have to pick up points in events like the Ironman Berlin in order to qualify for the world championship.
Here's a quick preview of the Ironman Berlin, with the routes for each race and a couple of competitors to watch out for.
|Route||Date||Start Time||Live Stream|
|Berlin||Sunday, June 16||8 a.m. CET or 2 a.m. ET||IronmanBerlin.com|
As with any Ironman competition, this event will test competitors over three different courses, which total 113 km or roughly 70.2 miles.
The competition will begin in the water, as competitors must travel 1.9 km in the river Spree. Once the swimmers reach the Elsenbrücke, they turn back. On their return, the competitors will be swimming against the current to make things even more difficult. They'll also have only an hour and 10 minutes to complete the swim portion.
Here is a map of the course, courtesy of Ironman Berlin.
From there, it's time to exchange swim caps for bike helmets as the competitors have to ride 90 km through Berlin. The riders will have to bike to and through the Tempelhof Airport, which was decommissioned in 2008. Luckily, the competitors will only have to deal with slight inclines.
Ironman Berlin's map of the bike course is shown below.
The competitors will remain at the airport to finish off a 21.1 km run, the final portion of the Ironman. They have to run three laps at the airfield to complete the race.
Here's the map for the running portion of the race, courtesy of Ironman Berlin.
Michael Raelert will be the man to beat. He has already won a litany of Ironman competitions, so this race has become second nature to the 32-year-old.
Raelert was the back-to-back Ironman world champion in 2009 and 2010, winning three individual races as a part of the Ironman 70.3 series as well in 2010.
It that's not enough, Raelert will have the home crowd behind him. He was born in Rostock, Germany, roughly two hours away from Berlin.
One of the guys pushing Raelert will be Jenson Button. The interesting thing about Button is that he's a champion Formula 1 driver. He's yet to have the same success in Ironman that he has in racing, but he's still an accomplished competitor nonetheless.
In the women's division, three women, Nicole Woysch, Silvia Felt and Katja Konschak, can probably stake a claim as being the favorite. Coincidentally, all three are German, so they have the added bonus of possibly winning in their home country.