I’ve just got back from an amazing weekend supporting friends and clients at Ironman Vichy. For anyone thinking for doing it next year, here are some of my thoughts on the event.

It can be a bit difficult to get to so a lot of people from the UK tend to drive. This can add a bit of time to the trip but is one option to explore. We flew to Lyon and hired a car for the 2 hour drive to Vichy.

It takes place at the end of August so you have all season to get fit!  This also means it’s in the school holidays (advantages/disadvantages of this depending on your circumstances).

It’s incredibly pretty, and great to be next to Lake Vichy.

For all the above reasons it can make a great destination for an extended holiday before or after the race and we spoke to lots of people who did exactly this.

It didn’t sell out quickly and they still had entries to the Ironman two weeks before the race.

There’s a 70.3 race on the Saturday so it could make for a good group trip for people racing different distances.

Overall it’s a fairly fast race and not too hilly.

The athlete bag was cool!

It’s usually HOT! And is regularly a non-wetsuit swim. However, in 2018 it was actually very mild, and was only 8 degrees on race day morning. So athletes should pack some warm clothes for the start and finish, and supporters this year were very chilly!

The cut off is ONLY 16 hours.

The swim is 2 laps with an Australian exit where athletes get out and run over a mat and jump back in. For athletes who don’t like the swim it has the advantage of giving a little break, but for strong swimmers it can disrupt your rhythm and slow you down. It’s great for spectators as it gives the opportunity to see your athlete half way round the swim.

The swim is a rolling start with athletes getting set off every 10 seconds in groups of 6. This means the swim start is relatively congestion free with plenty of space to swim.

The swim start and Australian exit is off a pontoon. So practice jumping or diving in before race day.

The run takes place with 4 laps around Lake Vichy that is lined with cafes and bars. There is also a free ferry across the lake making it easy for supporters to see athletes at lots of different places.

The run takes you through the finish line giving athletes a boost on every single lap.

The briefing, expo, start, finish and transition is all in one place making it easy and giving everything some good atmosphere.

It helps if you can speak a bit of French so take a phrase book or get familiar with google translate.

There was the usual awesome party on the finish line.

Overall I really enjoyed being at the race and will definitely add it to my list of events to race at as an athlete. If you’ve done Vichy, get in touch to share your thoughts and experiences or let me know what race you’re planning for next year and why.