2014 70.3 WC in Mont-Tremblant

The 2014 World Championship for 70.3 will take place in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, on September 8th. This will be the third WTC event in Mt. Trembant in 2014, following the regularly scheduled 70.3 on June 23rd and the Ironman held on August 18th.

Mt. Tremblant seeks to become a winter and summer haven for outdoor and endurance sports enthusiasts, and the city of 9000 inhabitants in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains has the physical beauty and infrastructure. The Mont-Tremblant bike course is not flat, and 70.3 veterans remember the notoriously flat Clearwater course that was the site of the first 5 world championships starting in 2006. But it is not overly challenging either.

Mont-Tremblant is a drivable distance from the U.S. Northeast, 450 miles from New York City, just under 400 miles from Boston. It sits almost equidistant from Ottawa and Montreal, not more than 100 miles from each.

The Mont-Tremblant course will become the third venue for the finale of the popular 70.3 series produced by the World Triathlon Corporation, owner of the Ironman brand of triathlons, following 5 years in Clearwater, Florida, and the most recent 3 years at Lake Mead and Henderson, Nevada, proximate to Las Vegas. Henceforth this world championship will change venues annually, bouncing across continents and hemispheres.

The 2015 World Championship will take place in Europe, and the likeliest – though not certain – scenario is that the 2016 race will take place in Australia. While this 2014 event will occur in September this may not always be the month for 70.3 Worlds, and the race could well take place as early as June. Indeed, a June date holds some appeal, as many long distance triathletes historically peak twice annually, once in or around June and then in October for the Ironman Triathlon World Championships.

The internationalizing of the 70.3 Worlds serves to mainstream the event, which has been criticized by some as a "private" and "commercial" set of races not deserving of world championship status because it is not a status granted by an IOC federation. However, WTC's races do take place under the umbrella of national and world federations, the organizer is a WADA signatory and conducts drug testing, and the right to call its races world championships has been affirmed by the IOC’s Court of Arbitration for Sport.

While WTC has held the legal right to call its races world championships, this move to rotate the WC venue around the world signifies to athletes that the 70.3 series is not a North American event that other countries athletes are invited to, rather an egalitarian series that equally belongs to Europeans, Australians, Asians, and those living in the Southern Hemisphere. In this sense the 70.3 was free to become what the full Ironman cannot, because the Ironman finale is inextricably tied by history and lore to Hawaii’s Big Island.