The most challenging sporting event of the year in Israel will take place on Friday in Eilat with the 10th edition of Israman Negev Eilat.
Over 1,200 athletes from 26 countries will take part in the many events, including the signature Ironman triathlon, which consists of a 3.8-kilometer swim, 180-km. bike ride and a full marathon of 42.2 km.
The event has gained international recognition over recent years and is considered to be one of the toughest Ironman competitions in the world.
What began in 1999 as an intimate competition with only a few athletes, has grown and developed, quantitatively and qualitatively, to become one of the major international competitions in the country.
As well as the main event, a half-distance competition will be held (1.9-km. swim, 91-km., bike and 21.1-km. run), with a relay race in which three athletes will team up, each contesting one of the legs, also to take place.
There will be several competitions for children aged 8-15, making Israman Negev Eilat an event for the entire family.
The races will all end at a finish line set up at the entrance of the Isrotel Royal Garden Hotel, with the main competitions to last from 4.5 to 17 hours.
Petr Vabrousek from the Czech Republic won the full Ironman triathlon in Eilat last year in a time of 10:22.37 hours and is favored on Friday.
The 40-year-old Vabrousek will be taking part in his 137th Ironman event, completing 13 grueling courses just last year.
Israeli Tom Marmarelli, who finished in third place overall last year, is the favorite among the local athletes, while in the women’s event Hungary’s Zsusanna Harsanyi will look to dethrone defending champion Dora Heller of Israel.