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History

Based on an initiative by lifeguard Peter Corstanje, a couple of clubs from Holten organised the first (mini) Holten Triathlon around Recreatiebad Twenhaarsveld in August 1985. The brand-new sporting event had a simple set-up, but drew over 150 participants right off the bat. 

The event continued to raise the bar in the years that followed, both in terms of organisation and the level of the participants. The Holten Championship, still highly successful to this day, was established as early as the 3rd triathlon in 1987, due to the ever increasing participation of Holten locals. 

The 5th triathlon in 1989 marked the next milestone: the relocation to the village centre. This proved a magnificent improvement, especially for the audience that showed great interest in the event. The typical ‘triathlon atmosphere’, which is one of the most appealing aspects of the Holten Triathlon, emerged around and in the centre of the village in the years that followed. The broader set-up as well as the strategy adopted by the founding committee, of "controlled and manageable growth of the Holten Triathlon while maintaining the quality of the organisation" led to the establishment of a targeted sponsorship policy. This resulted in the appearance of the first presentation guide late 1989. 

The first door-to-door newspaper for the 6th Holten Triathlon was published in July 1990 to provide some additional sponsorship and advertising opportunities. In recent years, this Triathlon Krant has appeared in a circulation of 55,000 copies. 

Another result of the formulated sponsorship policy was the creation the so-called ‘invitee terrace’. What started in 1991 with a humble area for guest reception, grew into a complete, afternoon-filling VIP programme for sponsors and relations in 2004. One result of the sponsorship policy was the foundation of a business club called ‘Friends of the Holten Triathlon’. Recognition from the sporting world came when the Dutch Triathlon Union (NTB) entrusted us with organising the Olympic Distance Open Dutch Championship for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001. 

Another aspect that was developed over time were the surrounding activities. After a hesitant start, they are now an inherent part of the event. The Holten Triathlon kicks off on Friday night with a junior Run-Bike-Run for the Holten School Championship and a Business meeting for local businesses, sponsors and relations. These events are followed by live music and a smashing laser show. On Saturday, the McDonalds kid's street offers various activities to keep our smallest visitors entertained. Plus, the audience will find a large Sports and Promotion market in the village centre. 

The sporting part 
It goes without saying that this event will always be about the sport. That is why we uphold the motto: “The athlete just needs to perform, our organisation takes care of the rest.” The fact that the competitiveness of the sporting event increased dramatically while our organisation was growing as well, is a testament to the fact that we are succeeding in this regard. The men and women who have won our event in recent years are all of international allure. You will find the Honorary List of winners since 1985 on this website. For many years now, participation of all national top triathletes is assured. The best Dutch triathletes of recent years (Wieke Hoogzaad and Eric van der Linden) are both Holten Triathlon gold medal laureates. International top athletes like two-time European champion Kathleen Smet and Mieke Suys both from Belgium and (then) Australian Tracy Looze-Hargreaves were also able to add a Holten Triathlon win to their track record. 

Male winners include former world champions Dimtry Gaag from Kazakhstan (2003 winner) and Australian Peter Robertson (1998 winner). And former European champion Martin Krnavek managed to win the Holten Marathon (in 1999) as well. 

As of 2002, The Holten Triathlon is part of the Points Races Circuit of the International Triathlon Union (ITU). As a result, the 18th Holten Triathlon hosted over 45 foreign participants (12 nationalities). The fact that 4 of 6 podium places were occupied by foreign participants, is a testament to the high quality of these participants. This trend continued in 2007. Lenka Zemanova from Czech Republic and the Russian Igor Sysoev made for yet another worthy couple of winners. Strong foreign participants were now overshadowing the Dutch; Youri Severin was the best Dutchman with a 5th-place finish. A highlight at the time, Holten got to organise the European Championship for the Olympic distance in 2009, from 2 till 5 July. Thanks to the efforts of many, the (mini) Triathlon of 1985 had developed into a European elite race. 

Unprecedented growth was also a fact in terms of quantity. Every year, all of the recreational start series were overbooked by early January. Even though efforts were made to allow more applicants to start the race in 2002. The Holten Triathlon was extremely popular not just in the village itself (more than 300 participants from Holten), but throughout the Netherlands. The incorporation of the Holterberg into the cycling track in 2001 certainly contributed to that fact. All in all, the International Holten Triathlon isn’t just a European elite race, but also one of the largest triathlons in the Netherlands. 

Athletes and audience alike experience the Holten Triathlon as a sporting celebration rather than just a race. The large Closing Party that follows at the Kalfstermansweide, the ‘heart’ of the Triathlon, puts the icing on the proverbial cake. For years now, the village buzzes with excitement whenever the day of the International Triathlon Holten has arrived. 

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