Ironman 70.3 Greece
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Your Name: Angie Salter
Race Name: Ironman 70.3 Greece
Age Group: 50-54
Location: Costa Navarino, Greece
Date: 14 April 2019
Website link:
Triathlon Experience: This was my first 70.3 race so I was a late starter with triathlon. After this race, I completed Ironman 70.3 Bahrain in December of the same year.


Costa Navarino is a stunning area with a beautiful sandy beach and mild temperatures. The race is centered around the Westin Resort which is a perfect location.

Rationale for Race:

Truthfully, I wanted to go on holiday to Greece and I saw this race and knew that Tony would agree to go on holiday if he could sign up for the race. Then I decided I may as well have a go myself. I had done a few small triathlons in Qatar and thought why not? I only ever expected to do one 70.3 event so I wanted it to be memorable. This was the first Ironman event held in Greece so it seemed appropriate.

Travel to the Race:

We flew from Doha to Athens via Qatar Airways. Then hired a car and drove about 3 hours to Costa Navarino. It was a really nice drive but there are lots of tolls along the way which we hadn’t expected. The resort was quite easy to find.


If you don’t stay at the Westin Resort, other accommodation close to is limited as Costa Navarino is only a small place. If you choose this race, make sure to book accommodation as soon as possible. We decided to go for self-catering accommodation so we could prepare our own food. The chalet we chose was on the beachfront in Romanos and was lovely and quaint but the cooking facilities were limited and not really sufficient for our needs but we managed. The drive to the Westin Resort was only 5 minutes away but the walk from the car park was about 20 minutes. However, there were free shuttle buses if you were prepared to wait. Registration was smoothly run but the Expo was quite small and didn’t have much in my size. We decided to drive the cycle route beforehand as we knew it was quite hilly compared to Qatar and we wanted to see it for ourselves. Alex from the Tri-club originates from the local area so he arranged for his cousin to drive the route with us as he cycled it most weekends. This was invaluable. The cycle route was 2 loops and there are two main hills. The first hill (which was also the third hill) was 13kms long. The second hill (and fourth hill) was shorter and easier. The rest of the route was undulating and it was an interesting course. Alex’s cousin also gave us a heads up of a bad section of road where there were huge holes right across the road so we all made a mental note of the location so we could be sure to avoid the potholes.

There was a swim practice the morning before the race so we all donned our wetsuits and headed down to the beach. The water was clear blue and extremely calm but it was freezing. I didn’t think I’d be able to get in, it was so cold. My ankles and wrists felt like they were going to drop off with frostbite. I managed to submerge myself eventually and off we went. The practice swim was the best I’d ever felt in the water. I seemed to swim smoother and faster than I’d ever swam before so this gave me lots of confidence as the swim is my worst discipline. After the swim, we decided to ride the first 13km of the cycle route so we could experience the hill. So, after a shower and breakfast, we headed off on the bikes. The ride out of the resort was downhill so it was great, then there was a flattish section before we hit the hill. When we got to the top, we turned around and headed back down to the resort. Now things were getting exciting!

Race Gear

I chose to wear a Zone 3 tri-suit because it matched my bike. Okay, I know! I’m a girl and not a seasoned triathlete so I wanted to look the part. I also got my nails painted the same colour 😊
My wetsuit is a Blue Seventy Reaction. I struggle in the wetsuit, to be honest, but I had done lots of open water swimming to get used to it and to make sure it loosened up beforehand. The bike I used was my beautiful Canyon Speedmax which I love.


Getting to the start line

We woke to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. What had been a beautiful calm sea the day before was rough with incredibly high waves. I am normally very nervous on race day morning but I was extremely calm on this day. We had breakfast and headed off to the resort. The walk to transition was long but we were all chatting so I didn’t feel nervous. The transition area was well set up with swim to bike bags on one side and bike to run bags on the other side. I checked my gear to make sure I had everything, put on my wetsuit, and headed down to the beach.

Swim Leg

The scene on the beach was astounding. The waves were crashing, people were being knocked over trying to get into the water. It was mayhem! How was I going to get in here and swim? I needed to test the temperature of the water so I tried to stay calm and focus then I just got in and swam for a short time. The sea was so rough I didn’t even notice the cold. When it was time to queue up, I stood near the back with David from the Tri-club and we laughed and chatted until we were at the swim gates facing the water. It was our turn and the gates opened. I ran forward and tried to get in the water but I kept getting forced back by the waves. I eventually dived through the waves on my third or fourth attempt. The waves were huge and it was difficult to see the buoys as they floated up and down in the waves. I had trained so hard for this race, I was not going to let these waves defeat me. I shouted and swore at the waves under my breath during the entire swim. By the time I was reaching the end, the exit buoys had been blown onto the beach and there was a long line of volunteers dragging people out of the water. As I approached the exit, a wave hit me and took my goggles. Thank goodness, I hadn’t got far left to swim. I was ecstatic as I was pulled out. I had survived and I was only 2 minutes off the time I’d set myself. I felt great!

Swim exit angie


The run to transition was uphill through the resort for about 900m with lots of people cheering. I was on a high. I took my time to dry my feet and put on socks. I also put a cycling top over my tri-suit as I was concerned about being cold but I planned to discard it at one of the water points, which I never actually did.

Bike Leg

I headed out of the resort feeling confident. I loved the bike leg despite the hills. It was tough going up but I also found it tough coming down too because of the crosswinds. I was quite new to handling a tri-bike so I was nervous about going fast downhill in the wind. Because it was a 2-loop course, it was great to look out for my fellow teammates from Doha and wave and shout to them. The heads up from Alex’s cousin about the potholes was invaluable as there were bits of bike and bottles scattered everywhere on the road as people had hit the holes at speed but I managed to avoid them. The finish was uphill into the resort. I was just so happy that I’d done it.


I racked my bike, discarded my cycling top, used the loo with difficulty (it’s hard taking off your tri-suit when you’re hot and sweaty), and headed out of transition.

Run Leg

As I set off on the run, the thought of running a half marathon was quite daunting. But I set off and the first 1km was downhill. The run route was cross country and very scenic, passing through a couple of villages. There weren’t many spectators apart from in the villages but the volunteers on the water points were amazing. The support was incredible and they kept me going. I developed a run 900m, walk 100m strategy. I don’t know why but it helped to get me through.

Finish Line / Finisher Area

When I ran down that red carpet, it was the most exhilarating experience ever. The emotions I was going through were amazing. I did a little jump in the air over the line and when they put the medal around my neck the tears came. I’d actually done it. I’d completed my first Ironman 70.3. Tony was waiting for me at the finish area with a gift he’d had made for me and the tears came again. I met up with all the other Tri-club members and it was a party atmosphere. A lot of us were beginners so we were all going through the same emotions.


Evaluation of my race

I had no expectations going into this race. I just wanted to complete it and beat the cut off times. I was determined to enjoy the whole experience as I wasn’t planning to do another one.

Evaluation of Race Organisation

The organization was great. I’ve been to lots of other races with Tony and this one was on a par with all the others. The Greeks definitely did us proud.


We booked a tavern near to our accommodation which did home-cooked local food. We explained that we’d completed the race that day so they gave us a night to remember. There was a big group of us from the Tri-club so it was a great night. The following night we were invited to Alex’s family home for a barbecue. His family’s hospitality was simply outstanding and we had a few (!!) beers to celebrate. The following few days, Nick from the Tri-club (who originates from Athens) took us on a trip around Greece showing us sights that only locals would know about. A fantastic holiday!

Recommendations/Lessons Learned

I absolutely loved this race. I’m not sure if it was because it was my first 70.3 or because I went with a great bunch of people from the Tri-club or because the Greek people were so friendly but I would definitely recommend it. I should have been doing it again this year (I know I said I was only doing one ever) but it was canceled because of Coronavirus so I have transferred to 2021.

  • Book accommodation well in advance
  • Practice open water swimming a lot (just in case those waves appear again)
  • Be prepared for those hills
  • Enjoy every single minute