May 10, 2019 - The weekend ahead will feature Ocean Lava Montenegro, a triathlon race that is part of a world series of over 20 competitions in 17 countries. The Montenegrin edition is growing year by year, and after last year's competition, which gathered together 480 competitors from 38 countries, this weekend in Kotor the race will see 600 triathletes from about 50 countries of the world.
Triathlons are experiencing a significant expansion all over the world, and one of the reasons is the fact that it is extremely suitable for people of all ages. For the fourth edition of Ocean Lava Montenegro, the average age of competitors is 39 years, explains Igor Majer, the man, responsible for the fact Montenegro became one of the destinations of the famous Ocean Lava Triathlon Series. Igor’s Multi-Sport Academia Majer ensured support by a lot of local institutions, businesses and NGOs recognizing this event has high potential, not only in a sport but also in an economic sense.
Igor Majer, Ocean Lava Montenegro Director, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro
“Participants are coming from all over the world. And, they are not coming just for the weekend when the race is taking place, but usually earlier to discover the destination and organize some training. Not only individuals but whole groups are coming. For example, we know few private camps are organized in Boka Bay before this race,” explains Majer, giving us the data that for the occasion of last year’s Ocean Lava race, competitors and their companions realized more than 12,000 overnight stays in Kotor.
Ocean Lava Montenegro is the only triathlon race taking place of all its segments in UNESCO site, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro FB page
“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 and sports infrastructure.
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 which all segments take part in the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Majer emphases. “The beautiful cultural landscape has given us fantastic photos from our competitions, which are sent to the world.” The race is being followed by a lot of international reporters, among them the Reuters journalist who is coming to every Montenegrin edition of the competition.
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. Six hundred competitors bring us three thousand people to Kotor because of our race. Some of them are here with their families since the middle of April to discover the destination and practice. 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. 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 even during the summer months,” says an experienced triathlete, the race director and the president of the Triathlon Federation of Montenegro.
From the third Ocean Lava Montenegro Edition, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro
In addition to the big race scheduled for Sunday, Ocean Lava Montenegro has organized a children’s competition since last 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. Last year we donated funds to the Children Department of the General Hospital in Kotor, and we will decide after the race who will be beneficiary this year. 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,” says Igor Majer.
Ocean Lava Montenegro from the last year includes a kid's race
A triathlon consists of swimming, cycling and running. Montenegrin organizers decided on longer and harder distances, and therefore triathletes will have to swim the length of 1900m, ride 90km of bike trails and run 21km.
“This is one of the most successful races from the complete Ocean Lava series. The unrecorded and unprecedented growth of this race talks about quality. It 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 from North America to Europe, will be our honorary guest in Kotor again. After the last year competition, he said the Montenegrin race seems to be more exciting even from the final race, being traditionally organized on Lanzarote Island,” says Igor Majer.
The Ocean Lava Series Founder, Kenneth Gasque, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro
Because of the race, the traffic on the only road along Kotor Bay will be halted on Sunday in several periods. From 7 to 12 am, traffic will be suspended entirely from the road Kotor- Kamenari to ensure the safety of even 600 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.