Are Island Resorts The New Best Place to Host Marathons and Triathlons?
Our trip to Boston last month obviously turned out to be quite horrifying. But before it all went down - before the madness - we were rather impressed by how big of a draw the marathon was for the city. Hotels were full, restaurants were packed, and visitors were welcomed from around the world. It wasn't just a race. It was an attraction.
As far as events go, the Boston Marathon has to be up there with the best of them in terms of its effects on tourism. Maybe it's not quite on the same level as the Super Bowl or Mardi Gras, but the race has certainly served the city well since its inception in 1897.
Marathons, ironmans, and similar competitive events such as Tough Mudder have really gone mainstream over the past few years, so much so that even the most out-of-shape people we know are training for them these days (and bragging about it on Facebook). These events are not just for the athletically inclined anymore - they've made their way onto the bucketlists and social calenders of the masses. In a very sick way, the bombing in Boston has helped to solidify this trend. You can bet your bottom dollar that next year's race will have the most participants ever.
Given that rise in popularity, cities are vying to host their own competitive events and marathons can be found in dozens of destinations in the United States alone. Recently, we received a press release from a resort in the Caribbean that at first made us roll our eyes. A half hour later, something clicked, and we pulled the release out of our archive folder.
Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands has created what they're calling an "Island-Athlon," an on-going event in which guests tackle a mini-triathlon course that they've constructed. They have multiple mileage options depending on your level of fitness. The "beginners" challenge includes a half-mile kayak, 5-mile bike ride, and 2-mile run while the "hard-core" challenge is a 1-mile swim, 10-mile bike ride, and 5-mile run.
As you see in the photos, the course is pretty freaking scenic. And it got us thinking. If everyday people are willing to travel to cities to compete in massive marathons "just for fun," wouldn't the islands make great destinations for these athletic endeavors? Isn't there a market for this sort of travel? Sure, you don't get the prestige of, say, the Boston Marathon, but we think the after-race pool-side colada is a good consolation prize.
Marathons or half-marathons are currently held on many islands, including Bermuda, St. Kitts, Trinidad, and Jamaica. We like what Peter Island is trying to do, and we think the resorts on the larger islands should consider aggressively marketing some sort of marathon "run and revive" package to running clubs and individuals in the States. As we saw in Boston, the interest is definitely there, and something tells us the runners wouldn't mind resting their bones post-race on a white-sand beach.
What do you think? Would you make a marathon (or mini-marathon/triathlon) the center of a trip down to the Caribbean?
[Photo: Peter Island Resort]