Dubrovnik Triathlon makes its debut

It’s not often swim, bike and run makes football play second fiddle, but there are more spectators here for the inaugural Dubrovnik Triathlon than attended the Croatia v England international – 400 miles north along the Adriatic coast in Rijeka – the previous evening. And given this is a football-obsessed nation whose national team reached the World Cup final, it’s a victory to be celebrated for multisport. (We can gloss over both who they beat in the semi-final and that this recent encounter was played behind closed doors.)


Triathlon is a new sport in a city famed for its Old Town. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, its siege by Serbian and Montenegrin soldiers became a focal point during the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early nineties, but having taken a pre-race trip inside the medieval bulwarks, I can report it’s now deluged by up to 10,000 tourists a day, disembarking cruise ships to roam its ramparts.

Part of the attraction is the baroque, renaissance and gothic architecture, but it’s also the phenomenon that is Game of Thrones, the fantasy television drama that was filmed here. Given I’ve never watched a second of the show, my pop culture references end here, but at least it’ll save you from laboured puns being crowbarred into the race report, such as Game of Triathlons (attempt a faux European accent and switch ‘ons’ for ‘owns’).