After a dip in the waters of the Red Sea that wash the shores of the 21st century Israeli resort of Eilat that sits at the very southernmost tip of the Negev desert and as well as the nearby Jordanian port city of Aqaba which T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt took from the Turks early in the 20th century, triathletes face their own severe test. That is, a climb which rises 2,050 feet over 10 kilometers of winding desert road to get to the rest of one of the most challenging bike courses in the sport of triathlon. Once on the ridge atop the climb, triathletes can face near freezing weather or dehydrating heat, calm sunny skies or howling winds. But always, the athletes must climb, and descend along a sinuous fence that separates the nations of Egypt and Israel.
This year the Israman attracted nearly 1,200 athletes, including 200 souls brave enough to take on the full Ironman-distance rigors, roughly 700 who tackle the half Israman and several hundred who band together in teams to see just how fast they can go.
All photographs © Timothy Carlson
Bar Redandsky exults in his 11th place finish.
Safety kayakers set out before dawn under moonlight.
Graceful triathlete prepares for the swim.
The pro waves takes off!
A pack of swimmers heads back to shore.
Long course swimmer runs up the beach before setting off on his final lap.
Crazy excited after surviving the swim.
A string of triathlon cyclists ascend the desert hill.
One of several steep hills along the border.
Sign warning of cross winds was not necessary this year.
Riders ascending yet another climb amidst magnificent Negev landscape.
Riders pass a military checkpoint on their way to T2.
Runners leaves T12, facing a steep downhill that hurts legs more than the flats below.
ITU Olympic distance veteran Dan Alterman finished 4th in the 113 half .
Runner descends the steep hill above Eilat.
A blind competitor runs with his guide.
Peter Vabrousek passes an age grouper running the other way on an out and back above the port.
Vadim Suraev finished 6th in 10:39:21.
Petr Vabrousek opened up a 90-second lead on Tom Marmarelli on the downhill, then fought off Marmarelli's charge that came within15 seconds of the lead before the winner took charge to the finish.
Winner Petr Vabrousek of the Czech Republic and runner-up Tom Marmarelli of Israeli congratulate one another at the finish line.