We have seen a number of national federations host their own triathlon events over the past couple of weeks. These events, ranging from small gatherings to national championships have been largely for their domestic athletes.
Checking out the photos, videos and reports from these events, it looks as close to “normal” as we can hope to get at this present time and with governments managing the relaxation of controls across Europe, we can look now to the Tartu ETU Triathlon European Championships that are scheduled for 28th – 30th August.
Probably the best person to speak to is the man in charge of the Federation, Margus Lepik.
Nice to have a chance to chat with you. The news that you were able to go ahead with the European Standard Distance Triathlon Championships was very well-received around Europe. In fact, it was one of the most popular and well-read articles we have posted this year.
We are all very much aware of the restrictions imposed upon you and indeed every event organiser by the COVID-19 pandemic. We read about this each and every day at the moment, in the hope that somehow it will all be resolved. We know that you have fully followed the ITU guidelines and are now able to deliver the event.
The situation in Estonia is improving every day. The government decided today to ease restrictions on the organization of public meetings, public events and sports competitions from 15 July and to increase the number of visitors allowed. From mid-July, up to 2,000 people can take part in outdoor events instead of the previous 1,000. Indoors, a maximum of 1,500 guests will be allowed for events instead of the current 500.
For many athletes, the news they are keen to hear about is the venue. We understand that you are locating the race at Otepää. So, the location will be familiar to anyone who has raced the half-distance event there?
Hi, good to hear from you. Yes, Otepää and Pühajärve are well-known places for triathlon competitions, for example the IRONMAN 70.3 and Tristar races, as well as the World Military Triathlon Championships. Pühajärv (Holy lake) and its surroundings are known for their natural beauty.
For many who raced in 2018 in Tartu, the awards ceremony was one of the best we had seen. For each winner, as they walked up to the stage, there was a piece of music, specially chosen for them that reflected their nationality. It was a real party. Is it going to be the same team working this year?
LOC team is mainly the same. We want to offer the participants a memorable event, but of course this year we have to consider some restrictions. Everything will be clear during August. However, our goal is to make our athletes feel warm and welcomed, as they were back in 2018.
Otepää has a great reputation for winter triathlon too. There are a few hotels in the town and quite a lot of small guesthouses. Outside the town, are there alternative options? For example, is it possible to stay in Tartu and travel to race at Otepää?
There are many different types of accommodation in and around Otepää, from hotels to bed and breakfasts. It is also possible to stay in Estonian 2nd largest city, Tartu, which is just 40 km from Otepää. The LOC will also offer transport possibilities.
We have seen some photos of athletes out training in the Baltic states. It looks like the lakes are warming up nicely. Is this likely to be a non-wetsuit swim?
The water temperature in Lake Pühajärv is usually 20-22 degrees during this period. Just in case it’s worth taking the wetsuit with you because everything depends on the current temperature and in Estonia, it can change quite rapidly.
The bike courses. For the Elite, a multi-lap course? For the Age-Group athletes, what can we expect? Will there be any significant hills?
Otepää is known to be the mountainous area in Estonia, so athletes will experience quite a rolling racecourse with an exciting and beautiful view. I will send detailed plans of the courses as soon as the Technical Delegates confirm them.
The run courses; again, the Elite can expect a multi-lap run but for the Age-Group athletes, where will you take them and where is the finish going to be located?
The age-group athletes will run around Lake Pühajärv. All finishes are located in Pühajärve Park.
If we are coming to the race, can we break up our journey easily and stay in Tallinn for a few days? Where else is worth visiting, while we are there?
There are quite a lot of things to see in Tallinn. However, Tallinn’s number one attraction is undoubtedly the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a unique medieval atmosphere. Take time to walk along the narrow-cobbled streets, admire the centuries-old architecture, and peek into the hidden courtyards and passages – in many; you’ll find a romantic café, a lovely shop, or a secret garden.
Finally, the government website that is updated weekly. You mentioned that this was a valuable guide that reflected the virus situation. Where can we find it?
You can access the website by following this link—> https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers
For all information relating to the event, please check regularly on the ETU Event page.