XTERRA World Championship
The final part of the 28-country XTERRA World Tour is held in Maui, Hawaii on Maui Land & Pineapple Company’s private 22,000-acre estate. The race is stunning, going through pineapple fields, forest trails and idyllic coastline. If that wasn’t good enough, winners of the race will also pick up over $100,000.
Great Floridian Endurance Festival
This triathlon started in 1991, making it the second oldest iron-distance race in the U.S. The race’s 2.4 mile swim is held in Lake Minneola, followed by a gruelling 112 mile bike along the hills of Lake County, finishing with a marathon on the beautiful South Lake Trail.
This New England event is a bucket list race for any triathlete. The Olympic distance race takes in Brunswick, South Freeport and Casco Bay, with wetsuits required due to the very chilly water. Once this brilliant race is finished it’s on to the equally brilliant Maine Lobsterbake, with plenty of drinks, fresh lobster, steamers, coleslaw and corn.
Boulder Peak Triathlon
Boulder Peak is a brilliant example of an event that captures local pride and a sense of community. The the Olde Stage climb within the race is pretty unique, and side competitions (women starting 15 minutes before the men in a race to the finish and a longest transition prize) have also added an extra dimension. This is a brilliant professional, non-draft Olympic race.
Utah’s Toughman event is a brilliant stepping stone to longer distances if you’re new to them, thanks to the clam water the swim is held in and the near totally flat course for the bike and run. If you are more experienced at 70.3 races then this is definitely a potential PR contender.
Lake Lure Triathlon
Run this North Carolina triathlon in the same location that Dirty Dancing was filmed—you even get a free post-race massage upon completing the distance. The race is run with the picturesque Rumbling Bald Mountain in the backdrop and open to athletes of all abilities.
Escape from Alcatraz
Very few, if any, triathlons can match this race for location, swimming across the San Francisco Bay way from the world’s most notorious prison. First held in 1981, it attracts amateurs and professionals alike, all trying to flee the island that held Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly as fast as possible.
Des Moines Escape Triathlon
With sprint and Olympic distances, this Iowa event is an evolution of the Hy-Vee Triathlon and attracts the very best triathletes in the world, with five-time world champion Javier Gomez winning here last year.
Expect big crowds, hundreds of athletes, tough climbs and plenty of hills in this Californian event, held at Lake San Antonio. The race returns after a cancellation last year due to low water levels in the lake, which is fantastic news for independent triathlons everywhere.
New York Triathlon
Ticking virtually all the boxes in Big Apple tourist spots, the New York Triathlon inlcudes the Hudson River, Central Park and Manhattan’s West Side highway on its route. The razzmatazz of the locations disguises how tricky it actually is, with hilly and uneven terrain underfoot.
Ironman 70.3 SuperFrog
Almost like one huge session of circuit training, with competitors switching from the different disciplines at various times, this started out as a way of preparing Navy SEALS for Ironman triathlons. Now it’s open to everyone but remains one of the toughest around.
Rev3 Cedar Point Triathlon
Rev3 Cedar Point is held over two days in the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio (meaning the race is as good for spectators as it is for the racers themselves). There is a $50,000 prize to the main event’s winner, and there are also shorter distances and children’s races over the weekend.
St. Anthony’s Triathlon
This Floridian race has now been going for over 30 years and has become one of the country’s favourite triathlons. It has a brilliant scenic waterfront course, with a high standard of athletes, and is brilliantly organized.
This women-only event is fantastic for newcomers to triathlon. It has a 1/2-mile swim in Lake Andrea (a gorgeous 100-acre spring fed lake), with a 12-mile bike ride through Prairie Springs Park and a 5km run to finish things off.
Ironman 70.3 St.George Triathlon
Known for fantastic support and incredible scenery, this Utah race includes the Sand Hollow Reservoir for the swim, running and riding with Snow Canyon, and the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve for company. Snow Canyon used to provide a unforgiving start to the ride, but the stretch of path has been mercifully repaved.
Rio Grande Retro Triathlon
Run across flat course for the vast majority of the race along the Bosque Bike Path, this is great for beginners. There is a fun, festival feel to the event (plenty opt for fancy dress), so break out your speedo, tie dye and inflatables.
Kiawah Island Triathlon
Another good choice for relative rookies, this South Carolina event has warm water for the swim and incredibly flat terrain for the other two disciplines. There is plenty of food, drink and live music post-race and you could stay a little longer to make the most of the golf course.
Hyannis Sprint Triathlon
Once you’ve swum on Craigsville Beach, the bike ride goes through a number of different villages, with a run that brings finishers into Hyannis Port (just over 14 miles in total). The event is chip timed and relay entries are also an option.
Survival of the Shawangunks
Held in the Shawangunk Mountains, this is an eight-stage endurance race. Uniquely, this starts with a 30-mile bike route, before competitors run from one mountain lake to another, swimming the length of each one, across three different lakes.
There have now been over 30 years of the Brewhouse Triathlon, with short course, long course, swim and Rootbeer Junior event. Located at the Island Lake Park, Minnesota, the route features coastline, woodland and smooth roads perfect for the bike.
Nautica Malibu Triathlon
The triathlon of choice if you want to do some celeb spotting during competition. Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey (pictured below) and Zac Efron have all taken on the course as well as a number of top athletes from other sports such as Amanda Beard, Lance Armstrong and Victor Ortiz.
Mountain Man Triathlon
Offering Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman distances in a beautiful location over the San Francisco peaks and local lakes. While it may look good, beware the 7,000 metres of elevation that you’ll encounter.
A race that lives up to its name, this tasks athletes with running up nearly 6,000 metres of Maryland mountains. The bike ride is especially tough in terms of incline, but is at least smooth—probably best for newcomers to take on the shorter distances first.