Last week, Monaco-based Star Production SARL announced that the first TriStar111 race in the U.S. will take place on August 27 in Maple Grove, Minn. TriStar Minnesota (Tristarminnesota.com), which will consist of a 1km swim, 100 km bike and 10km run, will be the 11th event in the TriStar111 series and will be partnering up with second-year race Maple Grove Triathlon: Dare to TRI, which already had sprint and Olympic races. Lindsey Kurhajetz, race director, says the race expects 1,000 participants this August competing across the three distances. We spoke with Georg Hochegger, CEO and founder of Star Production about the unique racing format, why TriStar is coming to the U.S.—and which favorite Ironman world champion we might see racing in Maple Grove this summer.
Q: TriStar111 Minnesota will be the first TriStar race in the U.S.–why the shift to the U.S., and why the choice to partner with a race in Minnesota for the first one?
A: It was our intention from the beginning to establish our new race series with the new format in the USA. The USA is a very important market to us, and we believe we can bring a new feel for triathlon to the triathletes and newcomers in the USA. It took us a while to find the right option for activating an event in the USA. With the organization team in Minnesota and the venue, we found the ideal scenario to start this venture.
Q: What about the TriStar111 distance differentiates it from the more traditional distances?
A: The “heart” of TriStar is the different approach to a “long-distance” event. By offering a longer bike portion, shortening the swim and keeping the distance on the run the same as an Olympic event gives the athletes certainly a feel of a long-distance event by not damaging the body as much as on existing similar long-distance events. This is a kind of event every athlete will be able to do much more often and feel the actual racing experience week after week. This will give pros, for example, [the chance] to test and try out different situations with no need for a long recovery. Besides this, the new format will keep the field together after the shorter swim and [racers] will need a “strategy” on the bike in order to have strong legs on the final 10K. After the race the recovery time here is the key! It does not matter if you are a pro or a age-group athlete—one day after the race you can go back to your regular training routine without significant damage on your body, which is not possible after an Ironman or 70.3 race!
Q: What are the plans for domestic expansion?
A: After we see how the event will be received in Minnesota we will shape our expansion plans. But for sure we are planning on having a good size series to offer soon in the USA.
Q: How does TriStar plan to compete with WTC-owned races in the U.S.?
A: I do not see this as a direct competition. Our events are complementary to the races of the WTC (Ironman and 70.3). We focus on different key elements in our series and our company Star Production.
Q: Any chance we’ll see Macca racing in Minnesota?
A: I am almost 100 percent sure that Macca will race the initial TriStar111 Minnesota.