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Juan Abarca: "Challenge Peguera Mallorca is a different triathlon: it captures the essence of the island"

 After a year of hiatus due to the pandemic, the Balearic municipality of Calvià celebrates one of the most important Triathlon competitions on the European scene: the Challenge Peguera-Mallorca 2021.

In its seventh edition, the test contains everything a triathlete is looking for: unos attractive tours that pose a challenge, combining beautiful natural surroundings and urban and of course, a exceptional organization athlete-centered.

The entire municipality turns to the event with the aim of covering the athletes and making the competition experience unique.

We spoke with Juan Abarca Castro, head of communication at the Institut Calvianer d'Esports and one of the managers of Challenge Peguera-Mallorca, who explains the ins and outs of the event and some of the reasons why the event was recognized in 2019 as the best of the CHALLENGE brand FAMILIA.

Challenge Peguera-Mallorca was chosen by Challenge Family participants and supporters as the best triathlon race of the brand in its last edition in 2019. What makes this competition so recognized?

I think the main reason is that Challenge Peguera-Mallorca it is more than a triathlon event. We have an exceptional raw material, our environment.

We designed a test in which the participants face the essence of Mallorca, that is, beautiful, fun, challenging circuits that do not lead to relaxation and that allow us to get the best out of ourselves.

We are not a typical triathlon. In addition, we try to accompany the running experience with a wide catalog of services oriented to the triathlete and also to their family and friends.

We all like to participate and in Challenge Peguera-Mallorca we try that everyone in some way can do it.

In addition to the development of the race itself, how does Challenge Peguera-Mallorca attract so many high-level triathletes?

To be honest, we owe the great cast of pros who participate in our test year after year to be part of the Challenge Family.

This fact allows us to count on some of the sports stars, who are looking for points to obtain the bonus that Challenge Family offers at the end of the year to the first classified.

Goal of the Challenge Peguera Mallorca
Goal of the Challenge Peguera Mallorca

It should be noted that we are the last test of the year that takes place in Europe for Challenge Family. In addition to this, I believe that professional athletes also seek in our test to do their last triathlon of the year and take a few days off, taking advantage of the fact that they compete in one of the best vacation destinations in the world.

For obvious reasons the test had to be suspended in 2020. How have you planned this edition to encourage triathletes to register in the context of Covid-19?

The truth is that we have not had to change the plan too much. I explain. Our goal is always the same: put the athlete at the center and take the best possible care of him.

Therefore, from the beginning we decided to adopt measures that would guarantee that the athlete did not have to worry if the event was canceled. We opt for maximum flexibility.

Regarding the organization of the event on October 16, 2021, we monitor the evolution of the pandemic on a daily basis. We have adopted comprehensive prevention and security measures to ensure a safe and reliable environment, so we hope that Challenge will be played in as normal a situation as possible.

We also work on the program of parallel activities of the test.

Cycling segment of the Challenge Peguera Mallorca
Cycling segment of the Challenge Peguera Mallorca

The objective is to continue offering a large catalog of complementary services and events, including already traditional activities such as the Pasta Party, which this year will be held in an "itinerant" way through the restaurants in the area so as not to bring together a large volume of athletes in a closed place; the Nit de Foc, which we hope we can carry out if the measures in this matter are finally relaxed, or the children's race, the Challenge Women, etc.

Can the triathlon be a good tourist attraction?

Undoubtedly, having an international triathlon test serves to position the municipality of Calvià not only as a place to compete, but also as an alternative to carry out out-of-season training, or learn about other sporting events that also take place here.

In our case, Challenge Peguera-Mallorca has served to develop parallel services in the environment. Sports facilities have specialized in the discipline, many accommodations are betting on adapting their infrastructures and services to the needs of cyclists, triathletes ...

On the other hand, the area receives new companies interested in developing products and services related to training and sports competition, bike stations, travel agencies focused on training camps, etc.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we are fortunate in the environment (beaches, mountains ...) and we now have the services and, indeed, sports events that serve to put our area on the map and that are a great claim.

Challenge Peguera-Mallorca in particular and the promotion of sport in general seem a good method to make a tourist destination attractive all year round. Is it a conscientious bet?

Indeed, we are committed to the tourism-sport binomial as one of the main strategies to combat the seasonality of the destination, improve tourism quality and contribute to the sustainable development of the tourism industry.

We work on three lines, the 1st is the one that represents Challenge Peguera-Mallorca, that of hosting international sporting events in mid and low season, at this time with more than 30 scheduled for 2022.

Finish area with public of the Challenge Peguera Mallorca
Finish area with public of the Challenge Peguera Mallorca

The second is to promote the tourist use of the vast catalog of sports facilities in the municipality, more than 2, among which those for soccer, athletics, tennis or golf stand out.

And the 3rd line is to work on the positioning of Calvià as an international sports destination.

It should be noted that this is a consensus plan and in which there are different agents involved. Local and regional public institutions, private entities, hotel associations or sports clubs participate, since the objective benefits everyone.

What does this competition mean for the municipality?

In addition to the economic impact generated by the test in the area, in recent years the calculation exceeds 2.000.000 euros per edition, the test contributes to local development, allows the participation of municipal sports clubs (more than 500 volunteers), helping groups of people with special needs, carrying out environmental and awareness activities with schoolchildren, etc.

On the other hand, we know that the test involves a great effort for the citizens of Calvià, since it takes place entirely in the municipality, and therefore traffic cuts and restrictions are generated in almost all centers.

From here, we can only thank the patience of the people who suffer these inconveniences and we highly value the involvement of residents in the event as participants, volunteers, spectators or as an organization.

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