Earlier this month I participated in the Galapagos Challenge: Galapagos Triathlon. It is made up of two separate events: an Olympic-distance Triathlon and the Cross-Island Marathon. This year over 400 people participated in the Triathlon and six competed in the marathon the following day.
The race is made up of three components: swim, bike and run. It is a 1500 meter swim across the Itabaca Channel, then cycle a 40 kilometer distance across the whole island, and then a 10 kilometer run across the town of Puerto Ayora.
I am proud to have completed the event, racing against hard core athletes and Olympians. This was my first year and I’m definitely going to run next year.
Triatlon Galapagos – Galapagos Triathlon Video 2012
The event started at 2 in the afternoon. Why so late? There is just one main road across Santa Cruz Island (from north to south) – and it needed to be shut down for the event. So we waited until every tourist was across the Itabaca Channel before closing the roads. Because the economy in the Islands is built on tourism, the tourists come first.
Just two days before the event, I swam across the Channel as part of my training. I was by myself and just part way across the channel I noticed a large Galapagos Shark underneath me. While they aren’t known to attack, they are also the one species of shark in the Galapagos known by the locals as needing respect. They grow quite large, averaging 3.0 m (9.8 ft).
During the event, we saw many of the famous Galapagos animals, including sea lions, marine iguanas and a variety of sea birds.
The event was covered by national and international news and sports (ESPN) media. Galapagos Challenge is an exceptional event because there is no environmental impact by the participants: we just swim, ride and run. A secondary benefit of the event is that it causes spectators to begin thinking of similar activities that have little-to-no environmental affect.