For the first time in history, the qualifying race for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon is coming to Beijing. Athletes from around the world will gather at Qinglong Lake Park (青龙湖园 ), Fengtai District, on September 16th to for the chance to join the 2,000-strong field in San Francisco next year and race in the world famous Escape from Alcatraz event. Three-time World Champion Chris “Macca” McCormack will lead the field of top pro athletes who will participate in the race.
The Beijing International Triathlon is expected to attract approximately 300 participants including both international and local Chinese triathletes who will compete for US$100,000 in prize money. The competitors will race across a challenging 51.5-km long swimming, running and cycling course in the scenic surroundings of Fengtai. The district’s rugged mountains, hot springs and architectural landscape features will be integrated into the course, providing a unique backdrop for one of the toughest races in sports. Competitors will kick-off the swimming leg of the triathlon at Qinglong Lake (青龙湖), before setting off for 40-km bike ride that includes climbing Qianling Mountain (千灵山), and returning to start the 10-km running leg through the many features of Qinglong Lake Park (青龙湖公园) such as Gongyi Bridge (公益桥) before finishing at the main entrance of the park.
The top 50 finishers will go on to compete in San Francisco’s 33th annual Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in 2013, named after America’s infamous maximum security prison, which boasted zero escapes during its operational period from the mid-1930’s to the mid-1960’s. The first and one of the most grueling stages is actually swimming the frigid waters from Alcatraz Island to shore, a feat that was considered impossible by the builders of the prison, but has be become routine by these triathletes.
The event is backed by a cooperative partnership between the Fengtai Sports Bureau, Beijing Sports Bureau, Fengtai Government and IMG, a global leader in sports, fashion and media. The Fengtai Sports Bureau has signed a five-year contract with IMG to continue to host the Beijing International Triathlon until 2016.
See aerial views of the major sections of the race course in the gallery below: