The Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2023, Southeast Asia's longest-running triathlon in its 29th year, took place on Sunday at Phuket's famous integrated lifestyle destination Laguna Phuket.
With more than 1,000 international triathletes representing 30 countries across the globe, the triathlon proved to be an electrifying phenomenon and a testament for Phuket's potential as a world-class destination for sports events, particularly ones that seek a picturesque setting.
The Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2023 kicked off at 6.30am with the release of legend and pro athletes, followed by the sprint triathlon and duathlon participants who dove into the Andaman Sea at Bang Tao Beach for the swimming leg.
Triathlon competitors faced three challenging arduous feats, starting with a 1.8km swim — 1.3km in the sea and 500m in a water lily lagoon. Then they faced a rigorous 55km cycling route navigating mountain trails and finished with a demanding 12km run within Laguna Phuket. All races concluded at Laguna Grove, with the cut-off for each distance set at approximately 12.30pm.
In the men's category this year, it was a "battle between the Maxes". Max Stapley, a British triathlete, emerged victorious and marked his debut at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon. He claimed the top spot by completing the race with an impressive time of two hours, 32 minutes and 53 seconds. Securing the second position was Max Studer from Switzerland, finishing in two hours, 34 minutes and nine seconds, while third-place finisher Anthony Costes from France recorded a time of two hours, 35 minutes and 32 seconds.
In the women's division, the champion title was claimed by Kate Waugh from the United Kingdom. She completed the challenging course in two hours, 46 minutes and four seconds. Stapley and Waugh have been nicknamed a triathlon's power couple. The second position was earned by Julie Derron from Switzerland, finishing the race in two hours, 47 minutes and 45 seconds, while the third spot was secured by Sophie Malowiecki from Australia, posting a time of two hours, 52 minutes and 12 seconds.
There's also a strong representation of Thai triathletes in this year's competition. Thanadol Wisarutsin, an 18-year-old from the Thai national team and the youngest competitor, secured the Thai championship with an impressive time of two hours, 51 minutes and 51 seconds. Meanwhile, Jaray Jearanai, the 11-time Thai champion completed the race in an impressive two hours, 53 minutes, and 33 seconds. Another noteworthy participant was Somchai "Tao" Khemglad, a 90s Thai star, who made his debut in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon at the age of 50 and fulfilled his dream of participating in a premier global triathlon programme.
Paul Wilson, vice-president and deputy managing director of Laguna Phuket extended congratulations to all triumphant triathletes of this year's championship and heartfelt thanks go to all participants across all categories for making the 29th Laguna Phuket Triathlon not only a success but also a win for Thailand. He said, "This achievement mirrors the unity and spirit of community efforts, paving the way for the continued growth and success of the Laguna Phuket Triathlon in the years ahead. We invite everyone to anticipate its return, promising that its 30th year will undoubtedly be grander than ever."
The "Laguna Phuket Triathlon" is renowned worldwide as Southeast Asia’s longest-running and most successful triathlon event. Over the years, it has attracted a multitude of highly skilled triathletes from various corners of the globe.