Sports at a Glance

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24

Apr
2017

Puerto Rico: Your Tropical Sports Paradise

By Peter Martin 317 0
2017

Sports fanatics will give a hooray about all there is to see and do in Puerto Rico related to the eternal glories of the art of human sports competition.

Just relax or go all out because Puerto Rico has major sporting events throughout the year taking place across the island in a wondrous array of surroundings, which help make them once in a lifetime experiences.

Whether its world class, pro surfing, golf or running, or a multi-discipline competition like IRONMAN® 70.3® Puerto Rico Pan American Tri Club Championship Presented By: Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the island is host to events that are the best in the Caribbean and are among the top in their class anywhere.

They make for a thrilling experience for visitors, whether you want to participate directly, or enjoy the spectacular fan experience in Puerto Rico. The island has quality events that attract international stars yet are accessible to any participant in a given sport. Best of all, there is always in Puerto Rico a side fiesta among event spectators regardless of what is being watched that is often where the true action is. For these and other reasons, your sports experience in Puerto Rico will likely be among your most exhilarating!

Whether you love golf with the devotion of a Pavlov dog, or you think it’s the death of a good walk, you’ll want to come to the Puerto Rico Open, which pairs outstanding professional golf with so much more: gourmet food and wine tents, classical and popular music performances, fashion shows, art exhibitions, play areas for kids, and other activities.

The Puerto Rico Open PGA Tournament is an official stop on the PGA circuit, and the world-class event draws the best international golfers. The 2017 edition is going to be HUUGGGEEE!!!!! Not only because of its 10th anniversary but it will take place at the Coco Beach Golf Club in Rio Grande from March 13-20.

The world-class golf event at the plush property is a great competition in the shadow of the rainforest, along sweeping Atlantic vistas. However, there is also almost always an intriguing live performance, other event, and gathering taking place at the same time. Every year, organizers say they strive not just to develop the event into the one of the PGA Tour’s most popular, but also to throw the best event on the island each year. And it really is one of the biggest parties the island puts on all year.

 

  • maraton_10k
  • Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta
  • Puerto Rico Ironman Condado Lagoon
  • Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach - Round Two
  • Puerto Rico San Blas Marathon, Coamo, Puerto Rico

 

The Coco Beach Golf Club has two courses that run from jungle to coast, and offer both challenges to players and aesthetic visions of the island’s natural splendor. This event will give you a looking glass into the wonderful world of golf in Puerto Rico. With nearly 30 championship and other high quality golf courses, Puerto Rico is the “Scotland of the Caribbean” or its “golf capital.” The top designers in the game have carved courses along expansive coastal vistas, surrounded by the blue ocean and coconut groves and through lush tropical forest surroundings. They include Tom Kite, Robert Trent Jones, his two sons, Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and George and Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills, and Puerto Rico’s own Chi Chi Rodriguez.

The World’s Best 10K, which is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, is also a world-class sports competition with so many side shows they often feel like the main event.

The race around San Juan makes it a beautiful experience. It attracts some of the best long distance runners in the sport, but is also wildly popular with casual joggers and even strollers, and it’s a day-long festive event for running enthusiasts, the young and beautiful and active families. The race has historically been held in and around the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge, but organizers said a change in route has been undertaken for its 20th anniversary. Runners will now leave and finish at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, and will unfold along major roadways surrounding the sports complex. The race this year will be dedicated to Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, the great catcher who played Major League Baseball for the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals; and who was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame on first ballot.

This year’s edition takes place on Sunday, February 26 and attracts the best runners in the world, but the event is also wildly popular with locals and tourists, and makes for an amazingly fun time. There is a pre-race fair at a sports complex the day prior, and seamless public transportation is offered for participants before and after the race from major bus and urban train stations. Race sponsors lavish gifts on runners and the spectating public every step of the way, and there are food kiosks and live entertainment at a waterfront park near the start and finish lines.

Post-race events are held across San Juan, for participants and fans. The event normally coincides with a three-day holiday weekend. For years, the event was held in the late afternoon, but it switched in recent years to earlier morning. It has also been an internet trailblazer since its origins – the first race transmitted live via Internet, with audio, video, and results. The race’s internet presence continues to rock.

The World’s Best 10K is a big deal in Puerto Rico, which draws sponsorship support that enables a first-rate, world-class competition. Make sure you participate in one way or another should you be on the island at this time. While enormous swag and benefits are bestowed on early registrants, you can also sign up at the last minute. If you just want to cheer on and party, just follow the crowd surrounding the course.

In early spring, Condado and Isla Verde get overrun with buff guys and gals with an extra bounce in their step. They’re crowds of them, actually. It’s a downright wonder and a seeming mystery until you realize these are just the participants in the annual IRONMAN® 70.3® Puerto Rico, a competitive event that is also the catalyst for a series of side parties before, after, and during the wild competition. Most participants, turn the experience into an extra-long weekend at least, a chance for a mini-vacation, while getting your competitive fire tested.

 

  • Puerto Rico Ironman San Juan Run
  • Puerto Rico Corona Surfing Competition
  • Puerto Rico Ironman San Juan Bike Ride Biking

 

IRONMAN® 70.3® Puerto Rico, unfolds across a multitude of historic sites and attractions in San Juan, the oldest city under the U.S. flag. The race unfolds in view of historic fortresses, lush gardens, and windswept Atlantic coast. Prime viewing spots include Condado’s Dos Hermanos Bridge or the Caribe Hilton’s San Geronimo grounds.

The IRONMAN® 70.3® Puerto Rico starts with a 1.2-mile swim through Condado Lagoon, and then a 56-mile bike along Puerto Rico’s northern coast to Dorado. The 13.1 mile run explores Old San Juan, past enchanted Spanish colonial fortresses and cathedrals, as well as Art Deco office towers and other architectural gems. It meanders through other sections of San Juan and reaches its finish in an oceanfront park outside the old city near the Caribe Hilton.

This year’s IRONMAN® 70.3® Puerto Ricotakes place on March 19, 2017. It offers 30 qualifying slots to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Another huge race is the San Blas Marathon in Coamo, which unfolds in a south coast valley beside the ancient springs Spanish Conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon believed was the fountain of youth. The annual event (Feb. 5, 2017) attracts the world’s best female and male long distance runners to this gorgeous, pastoral south coast town, which takes place a beautiful Caribbean Sunday. This half marathon, which is one of the world’s most popular, also entails a weekend of musical events, fairs, and culinary delights. About 1,000 athletes participate from several different countries each year, and the event draws tens of thousands of spectators.

The 21.0975 kilometer race takes competitors and spectators on a tour of Coamo’s natural and historic sites and visitors after the event are sure to appreciate the town slogan “come to Coamo and you will love it like I do.” There are more than a dozen historic and cultural sites along the route.

The race winds through Coamo’s historic downtown area, home to the San Blas de Illescas Church, one of the island’s most impressive architectural works. First built in 1661, and reconstructed in 1784, the Baroque church rests on a series of steps with cast iron railings, its bell towers and arches overlooking Coamo’s charming plaza. The race meanders past other historic buildings and also crosses a number of bridges and unfolds on winding country roads.

The Coamo race was first run in 1963, and took off internationally as one of the world’s best races in the 1970s. Competitors have hailed from Australia, Ethiopia, Japan, the Soviet Union, China, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Kenya, Belgium, Venezuela, Canada, and others.

Several world record holders have participated.

Surrounded by shimmering emerald waters that beckon off its virgin white beachfront, Puerto Rico is a sailor’s paradise. You’ll feel the lure of the sea from the San Juan to Mayaguez, Ponce to Fajardo. The island’s east coast marks the start of probably the world’s most pleasurable sailing area, a swath of virgin sea, dotted with coral and green islands.

As a result, Puerto Rico is home to several regattas, those sailing extravaganzas that mix the pure thrill of competition, with the infectious rhythm of a Caribbean celebration. The Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta, which takes place off Puerto Rico’s east coast from March 2-5, 2017, is the biggest of the big sailing events. It has been based recently at Fajardo’s Puerto del Rey marina, as well as at the venerable Palmas del Mar marina, but the race always takes place in the glorious eastern Caribbean waters. The event is held at the close of the Caribbean sailing season but the start of summer, and has slowly become an annual rite of passage on the island over its more than decade-long existence.

The event draws sailors from across the Caribbean and other oceans that come every year to compete at the event, one of the most prestigious in the region that attracts all types of vessels. The event hosts Hobie Cats, Optimist, Sunfish, Laser, Native boats and Chalanas. Other classes are CSA Racing, PHRF Jib &Main, Melges, Raya, Mariner, and Hunter. There is also a Puerto Rico International Dinghy Regatta at the same time, where small boats race in the harbor. Cash prizes are paid out across the categories, and the event is part of the Heineken Star Cup, the sailing circuit uniting Heineken sponsored events across the Caribbean.

The fiesta continues at night, with live music and other entertainment, gourmet food, and so much more. There are all-day, all-night festivities and a variety of great cuisine throughout the event. The regatta is a daylong party that stretches across the night, often with live music, culinary diversity, and sociable bar areas, and other fun, games and prizes. It is also a serious competition that makes for fascinating spectator sport.

The regatta makes clear that Puerto Rico is one of the world’s most important sailing centers, while also reflecting the island’s prowess as a party power.

The Club Nautico’s San Juan International Billfish Tournament (September 25-October 1, 2017) has been attracting sports fishermen from around the world for more than a half century. The tournament has showcased San Juan’s prowess as a sports fishing, with a massive deep-water trench just off its north coast a lure for big game fish just a short ride from the city’s plushest marina. The vessels glide from the Condado and Miramar districts, out past Old San Juan into San Juan Bay, then past the imposing El Morro fortress to the open Atlantic and the big game fishing grounds.

In fact, the tournament is known for its stomping ground just 20 minutes from San Juan’s twin marinas (San Juan Bay Marina is adjacent to Club Nautico), which are known as “Blue Marlin Alley” and the “Billfish Pass,” and begin just a mile and a half off the coast. While the marlins, and other large billfish, are present throughout the year, high season for fishing them is in July, August and September, especially during full moon periods. The blue marlins caught during the tournament have weighed 700 pounds or more, and a 1,085 lb. marlin was caught off the San Juan coast in 2000.

Club Nautico says it is the first institution worldwide to establish today’s tag and release format for small Blue Marlin, even before the United States of America made it compulsory in 1988 and it grew into the sports fishing standard.

Puerto Rico is the Caribbean’s surfing powerhouse, and it has been hosting world class competitions ever since hosting the world championship in 1968. The island’s northwest surf Mecca comprised of an endless string of surf breaks in Isabela, Aguadilla, and Rincon, is most often the host. However, there are great breaks along the north coast, with San Juan home to several hotspots, as well as in the east coast. In summer, certain south coast surf sports are blessed with consistent swell that make for fun waves.

Puerto Rico hosts several world class competitions, and festive local events are taking place somewhere on the island on any given weekend. The 4th Legends Surf Classic (Jan. 20-22, 2017) is the finest on the immediate agenda.

First started in 2014, the Legends Surf Classic is open to surfers 49 and older and is held to recognize and promote the surfing legends of the 60s and 70s. Every year, surf legends from the classic surfing era, including finalists in the 1968 world championship held in Rincon.

This year, the invited guests include Hawaiian surfing legend Paul Strauch, who was a dominate surfer during the 1960s, known for his laid back style and nose riding. He was also the first surfer to perfect the ability to make turns on big waves. The event is held to support and promote the sport of surfing in Puerto Rico.

The island also hosts other pro surfing events, including the Corona Extra Pro Circuit and the Rip Curl Pro series. On 2007, it hosted the International Surfing Association World Masters Surfing Championship, which brought surfers from more than 15 countries including Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Italy, Jamaica, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Tahiti, and Venezuela. The best master surfers in the world competed in the event.

It’s no wonder Puerto Rico is an electrifying sports paradise for athletes and fans alike.