Challenge London 2023

Am I the only person that missed this Challenge race? only to find out its just the London Tri at Excel but with a middle added? £245 for the middle, usual London Tri extortion for the rest!


Yeah I noticed as I’m in the relay, not a bad price. Didn’t check route, assume it’s loads of laps.

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It’s the current Olympic Plus race but rebranded as the Middle. I think they plan a correct distance middle for next year.

Challenge have partnered with Limelight who run London Tri - not sure if it’s a full takeover or what.


I’d originally entered the Olympic Plus but they’ve done away with it after the takeover, so now doing the middle - ish, 50 mile bike. Not looking forward to 13 miles of the dockland on the run. Used to love London, first ever race in 08, not raced there since it went a bit crap around 2015/16 so interesting to see how it is.


They have both advertised. It has a 1900 swim and half marathon (but 80k bike so double oly there) . they also have the Oly Plus for a bit cheaper but it now says Closed for Entries

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They’ve cancelled it and given the option to either move to the Middle or down the Olympic.


Did anyone do the middle distance? Would you do it again / recommend it?

@IronDan did it…


In short no. I think this was my 7th or 8th London now but this year felt very unorganised - obviously Challenge took over late so hopefully things might improve but I won’t be heading back next year until I can see it’s sorted.

Swim - originally 3 waves, then put in one mass start, then on the brief, 5 mins before to be told it’s a pulse start. 400m loop then a 1500m meant approx 100m to the first bouy with circa 500 athletes (although slightly slowed by pulse) was an absolute fight.

Bike - 80k rather than the standard 90. Busy, narrow, stop start, crap roads, speed bumps. Joined by the Olympic race athletes towards the end and there were 2 mega crashes that didn’t look nice on the last lap. All the early info said it would be sorted for a 90k next year but the early bird entry says 80 so looks like no change.

Run - we all thought this was going to be short, 6 laps (!) and ended up over between 13.3M-13.5 I’ve seen. Very very busy with by now, Half, Oly, Sprint all on the run laps. Very uneven section by the hotels which is usually covered by some kind of plastic type matting which wasn’t this time, some hessian type carpet which didn’t hide the bank or dips and I took a tumble, twisted my ankle but luckily wasn’t too bad - I saw at least 1 person per lap hit the deck on this section.

Lots of this is organisational bits that they wouldn’t have had experience or knowledge of so appreciate they can make improvements but at £200 for the early bird plus hotel / travel etc I’ll be giving it a miss. Racking night before in a 2 hour slot was chaos as well with long queues. What I did appreciate was £15 voucher for food to be spent in any of the establishments within the Excel following it! Ha! Despite that it wasn’t all bad and I enjoyed doing a half at the venue for my first ever Tri back in 2008.


I just did the Olympic distance.
The swim was chaotic, probably made worse by the choppy conditions. For the bike, as you say some poor road surfaces near Excel. There are also too many areas where the road gets really narrow, and any inexperienced riders would just take a racing line with no understanding there might be faster riders coming through. They didn’t seem to do as much of the run indoors since the last time I was there….that hessian mat seemed to suck the life out of my strides!
It’s fairly local for me though so still tempted next year.


At 9:30 I thought it was a clean swim, at 11:05 it was a mess of bodies bobbing around. Sighting was easy.

The run to T1 was much much safer than in 21.

On the run and bike the feedback I got hasn’t changed - lots of people don’t know the rules or where they are going. I don’t know how they keep getting the signage wrong and the route complicated, but apparently they do.

I’ve heard no complaints about the middle distance, specifically. Atmosphere was great :blush:

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an athlete i coach collapsed 400m from the finish…the course was congested, hot and airless…

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