Time of year: Aug
Value for money: 4
Crowd support: 2
PB potential: 4
Course: 4-lap river swim, flat 6-lap bike course and 6-lap run course
Competitors: Approximately 150
Locality: Piestany is a nice little spa town approximately an hour from Bratislava. There is a pretty city centre and there are a lot of spas. The high Tatras are not far away. It is a great place to spend a few days.
Getting there: The best way to get to Piestany abroad is to fly to Bratislava and then take a bus or train. From Europe it is well connected by train and road.
My experience (2011): This race came 6 weeks after my first Ironman and two weeks after my first baby boy was born so I wasn’t sure until 3 days before the race that I would go. After paying the race fee and finding a hotel room I was looking forward to racing. The hotel owner was a very nice man and was very helpful although I found it difficult to locate the hotel! When I arrived and rode the start of the bike course I was pleased to find that it was flat and that the race could be a quick one!
The race WAS a fast one. The swim went quite well and then I started the bike and aimed to hold 130bpm while cycling, which I was almost able to do, finishing the bike nearly half an hour quicker than before despite there being a strong wind. I then went on to run a fast marathon, which wasn’t an easy one – there were steps and bridges to run over – 6 times! I still finished in 3h16 and was very pleased to post a finishing time of 10h11.
My experience (2012): This year I came back 4 weeks after finishing Challenge Roth, and three weeks after breaking a bone in my wrist! I fell off my bike during a short ride and thought I would miss the race. Luckily, it was not bad and I managed to persuade the doctor to remove the cast early so I could compete!
I was hoping to go under 10 hours today, and after posting a much faster bike split than I have managed before I then suffered for the first 20km of the run with cramps in my calves, quads and hamstrings. I felt dehydrated in the hot sun and walked through every aid station drinking as much as I could and after 20km I managed to start running again and crossed the line in 9h52……
Looking back, my run wasn’t that slow (3h29), if I can just improve my run performance next year or push even harder on the bike! I am still improving so who knows what another year of training can do….
My experience (2013): Another hot race! This year I came here with my parents and my son as we have a very young baby boy at home and tropical temperatures were expected on race day.
It was beautiful and sunny but extremely hot (over 36 degrees in the shade!) and it made the race extremely difficult but I enjoyed it again and this year I finished in third place in my age group, which was a nice surprise!
My experience (2014 & 2015): I will stop writing about this race now. I’ve done it 5 times and hope to do it another 5 times! Although it’s been hot and difficult every year, I love it! It’s my favourite long distance race and the run course has been modified to take out some of the steps and bridges which makes it slightly easier on the legs!