May 9, 2018 - The weekend ahead will feature Ocean Lava Montenegro, a triathlon race that is part of a world series of over 20 races in 17 countries. The global series of competitions has existed since 2013, and in Montenegro, the race, which runs from May 10 to 12, is organized for the third time.
Triathlon is a new sport, which was awarded the status of an Olympic sport in 2000. Director of the Ocean Lava Montenegro race, Igor Majer, points out that this sport is at the beginning of its development, but that does not mean that we do not have to join and be part of its development.
Triathlons are experiencing a significant expansion all over the world, and one of the reasons is the fact that it is extremely suitable for training people of older ages. As a sport, which implies a combination of three basic sports - swimming, cycling and running - without much change in speed and direction, triathlons attract more and more people with no previous sporting experience.
Ocean Lava Montenegro is one of the most popular Ocean Lava races in general. "The race in Montenegro is a world exclusive. It is the only race in the world that happens in the UNESCO World Heritage Site," Majer explains proudly. "The beautiful cultural landscape has given us fantastic photos from our competitions, which are sent to the world."
The contestants at this year's edition of Ocean Lava Montenegro come from all meridians. "The competitors come from 38 countries, and a total of 480 competitors have been reported. Many of them stay in Montenegro for about a dozen days for preparations and acclimatizations. From year to year, good news spreads, and what is most important in attracting new competitors is the uniqueness of our cultural ambiance and the wonderful ambiance in which all segments of the race take place. Such a huge increase in the number of competitors from year to year is not characteristic of triathlon races elsewhere in the world. Race organizers usually rely on domestic competitors and participants from the surrounding countries. What is interesting for our race, besides the fact that there is a small number of triathletes in Montenegro, is that only one quarter of the registered competitors come from the surrounding countries, which means that as many as 75% of triathletes come from all over the world," says Majer, explaining that it was a significant challenge for the organizers. A unique problem is the unavailability of Montenegro as a destination, the absence of low-cost flights outside the primary tourist season, and poor road infrastructure.
Ocean Lava Montenegro, apart from being an opportunity to present Boka bay as a destination for the global market, can also help us in Boka to recognize the potential for active tourism development, and that is sports tourism.
"I can speak from personal experience, as a traveler and participant of numerous competitions in all meridians, therefore, the user of sports tourism, and as the organizer of this race since 2016. We should say enough that over one hundred triathletes, participants of this year's race, have been staying in Kotor and elsewhere in Montenegro since the middle of April. They are here with their families. Based on last year's De Facto Consultancy agency survey, on average, with one participant in the race in Kotor, four people stayed on average for five days. We have noted that a large number of triathletes also stayed for several weeks. Based on information from social networks, a large number of these people return to Montenegro, especially for winter training. Of course, in this case, they do not come with the family, but with their teammates. Therefore, it will not be surprising that year by year an increasing number of cyclists will be visible on our roads, especially in the winter. Our climate is such that swimming in the sea is possible even during January, so we do not have to be surprised when we have swim training throughout the winter. The microclimatic conditions in Boka, the protection of the waters of the bay, make people feel quite safe here. These are the conditions that most European countries cannot provide us even during the summer months," says an experienced triathlete, the race director and the president of the Triathlon Federation of Montenegro.
In addition to the big race scheduled for Sunday, Ocean Lava Montenegro is organizing a children's race this year. "The Children's Race is organized by the desire to transfer part of this project to the local community. The fact is that such complex events cannot be based on the enthusiasm and professionalism of a small number of people. The organization of this year's edition of the race includes over 400 volunteers, who participate directly or indirectly. One way to thank them for all the support and assistance is to organize a backup event that is primarily directed at the local community. The race for children has a humanitarian character, and all race revenue will be donated to the Children Department of the General Hospital in Kotor. The idea is to include children from 0 to 12 years, divided into three age categories, who will compete on a short racing track. It's important for kids to sense the racing plane, where a day later, on Sunday, triathletes will pass and achieve excellent results. In this way, we think to inspire children for a healthier, more active life. And, why not, inspire them to put pressure on their parents afterward, so perhaps they may one day begin to train. We expect around 300 children to start. The organization of a serious children's competition will certainly follow, but we are happy to have made the first steps in the third round of the Ocean Lava Montenegro," said Igor Majer.
The Ocean Lava prescribes the strict rules of the organization, and the Montenegrin organizers could choose between two distances - they decided on the longer and harder race. Triathletes will have to swim the length of 1900m, ride 90km of biking trails and run 21km. The hosts were allowed to decide how many contestants they were ready to host, how they wanted to kick off the competition, and what details they wanted to bring the race to a higher level.
"This is one of the most successful races from the complete Ocean Lava series. It is best to say that at the start of the first edition there were 45 contestants, last year there were around 300, and this year we have approached numbers of as many as 500 competitors from all over the world. The unrecorded and unprecedented growth of this race talks about quality. This is also supported by the fact that the conceptual Ocean Lava creator, Kenneth Gasque from Danmark, who is also the first European to bring Ironman to Europe, will be our honorary guest in Kotor. He is coming exclusively to the race to discover why Ocean Lava Montenegro is different than the other races organized within this franchise," says Igor Majer.
Because of the race on Sunday, from traffic will be halted from Kotor to Kamenara. From 7 to 12 am, traffic will be completely suspended to ensure the safety of even 480 cyclists who will ride here. Traffic participants will be informed in detail, both through the public media and info tables, which will be placed tomorrow along the entire race length.