Drafting: is Ironman Barcelona even a real Ironman?

(Screenshot video: Bcnspy Instagram)

Ironman Barcelona is one of the most popular and biggest triathlon events in the world. Last weekend the AG-only race, that features both a middle- and long distance, attracted around 5,700 participants; 3500 on the long distance and 2,200 on the middle distance. The question is, though: shouldn’t this number be more limited? Has the event outgrown itself? Ironman Barcelona has the bad reputation of a “drafting party” – A great race for fast times, but maybe not such a fair Ironman.

That was proven again on Sunday, when various photos and videos on social media showed huge packs of triathletes on the bike course. No wonder really, because there were over 5,700 participants out on a two-lap bike course. Even if you would spread that out perfectly, it would mean each athlete has 15.7 meters to him- or herself. However, of course, that’s an unrealistic scenario, because in reality many athletes hit the road around the same time and – even if they wanted to – they can’t stick to the twelve-meters drafting rule.

This was even more the case last Sunday, as the swim was shortened to 950 meters. That saw even more athletes than usual going out on the bike course simultaneously.

You would expect the video below to be taken at the Tour de France, but unfortunately this was last Sunday’s Ironman Barcelona.

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