The ITU Long Distance World Championships return to France after a six-year absence on Saturday 1 June as Belfort welcomes some of the world’s best athletes battling it out for glory. The men’s and women’s races at the 19th Long Distance World Championships are full of former medallists including Caroline Steffen (SUI), Jodie Swallow (GBR), Dirk Bockel (LUX), Martin Jensen (DEN) and Sylvain Sudrie (FRA).
France has a close affiliation with the event, having hosted the very first race in 1995; and the 2013 race in Belfort marks the sixth time the race has been held in the country. The last time it was held in France – in Lorient in 2007 – the elite men’s race was dominated by French athletes and it is the only time in the event’s history where one nation has occupied all three places on the podium.
The elite men’s race starts at 08:00 local time on 1 June and is followed by the women’s elite race at 08:03. Both events traditionally consist of a 4K swim made up of two laps, a 110K bike ride including a 500m climb over 10K and a 30K run consisting of three 10K laps. Although, cold water temperatures have led organisers to change the format to a duathlon. The new race will now reportedly consist of a 9.5K run / 87K bike / 20K run.