Top 10 Triathlons Out Of The Challenge and Ironman Series

Top 10 Triathlons Out Of The Challenge and Ironman Series

Challenge and Ironman represent only about 10% of all triathlon competitions. There are less famous competitions that worth watching, especially if you like interesting and atmospheric races. Meet TOP 10 competitions below.


  • Location: Los Angeles, USA
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Olympic distance, Sprint distance

Race features

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean, bicycling around the most well-known USA megalopolis and running along the famous Torrance Beach every year attract more than one thousand triathletes from all around the world. It is possible to meet celebrities among the audience and participants. It is a very picturesque race that is also quite hard. The bicycle stage takes place in the hills, and it can become a challenge for inexperienced sportsmen.


  • Location: L'alpe-d'huez, France
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Long distance (2.2 km — 115 km — 22 km | 1.37 miles – 71.46 miles – 13.67 miles)

Race features

The L'alpe-d'huez grade is believed to be one of the extremely popular parts of the famous Tour de France race. The ALPE D’HUEZ triathlon is arranged since 2006. Its track includes this remarkable grade.

It starts in a few weeks after Tour de France, and the track is still decorated by fan inscriptions. While covering the bicycle stage, you may feel the atmosphere of the professional bicycling that saturates the whole location.

The race is complicated and quite hard. In order to reach ALPE D’HUEZ you will have to get over two mountain passes.


The running stage is not an easy walk, too. The half of the track goes uphill, and the other half goes down, and it repeats 3 times.

The swimming stage takes place in a large lake. The temperature of the water is usually about 15-17 deg. C. ALPE D’HUEZ is one of the most beautiful and difficult triathlons in the world.


  • Location: Phuket, Thailand
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Long distance (1,8 km — 50 km — 12 km | 1.12 miles – 31.07 miles – 7.46 miles)

Race features

there are good grounds for naming it “the Race of Legends”. Jan Frodeno, Mark Allen, Craig Alexander, Michael and Andreas Reinert, Chris McCormack, Belinda Granger, Paula Newby Frasier, Leanda Cave – this is a short list of the famous triathletes that took part in the Laguna Phuket triathlon.


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The race location is a true tropical paradise. The swimming stage is arranged in the Indian Ocean (1000 meters or 0.62 miles) and in the lagoon with fresh waters (800 meters or 0.5 miles). The water temperature is about 26-27 degrees C, so wetsuits are prohibited.

The bicycling distance is 50 km long (31.07 miles). It lays along the northern part of Phuket, has a few grades and technically challenging areas. The distance is flat. The track goes along golf courses and tropical forests.  

The highlight of the start is a finish line with an elephant. For the sake of a photo with this cute animal many people visit one of the most famous triathlons in Asia. 


  • Location: MD, USA
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Half distance (1,9 km — 90 km — 21 km | 1.18 miles – 55.92 miles – 13.05 miles)

Race features

How often have you bumped into the wall while covering a triathlon? In the truest sense of the word. One of the most difficult halves of the bicycle stages will give you an opportunity to come across a wall on the 30th km of the track.

The Westernport grade that is called “the wall” has a gradient from 25 to 31%. The sett paved road is a challenge for many sportsmen. Every participant that rides over this stage on a bicycle receives a personal brick that has to be put on the top of the grade.

Just imagine how it works and think it over. Are you ready for it? After the wall you will have to get over a few more exhausting grades such as Big Savage Mountain ( 8 km or 4.97 miles with an 8 % gradient) and Killer Miller (2 km or 1.24 miles with a 12 % gradient). The total uphill bicycling distance is about 2100 meters (1.3 miles).

You are wrong if you think that this start is considered to be the most difficult only because of its bicycling stage. The running stage called Savageman is a challenge, too. Hills and dirt roads are waiting for you. The total uphill distance of 500 meters (0.31 miles) will make an indelible impression.


  • Location: Eidfjord, Norway
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Full distance (3,8 km — 180 km — 42 km | 2.36 miles – 111.85 miles – 26.1 miles)

Race features

Famous Norseman. It is rightfully considered the most challenging triathlon in the world. The typical Ironman distance with nonstandard conditions. All three stages are full of trials.

Swimming at a temperature of 13-15 degrees. 3000 meters (1.86 miles) of the uphill bicycling distance and the running stage with the finish line at the altitude of 1850 m (1.15 miles) above sea level. You should also add the ever-changing cold weather in the Norwegian fjords.

There are no feeding stations during the running and bicycling stages, so every participant has a support team that feeds him and helps to cover the distance. Traffic is not blocked.

Only 300 sportsmen can take part in the race, and the number of those wishing to grows every year.


  • Location: San Francisco, United States
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Long distance (2,5 km — 30 km — 13 km | 1.55 miles – 18.64 miles – 8.08 miles)

Race features

This iconic race begins with a dive into the cold San Francisco Bay from the old ship near the famous Alcatraz prison.

The temperature of the water in the Bay is 13-15 degrees/ triathletes are constantly drifted by the current. If you swim or navigate poorly, you risk being washed into the Pacific Ocean through the popular Golden Gate Bridge.

The bicycling stage, despite its small length, is also a difficult trial, as it goes across the famous hills of San Francisco.

After the bicycling stage, you will run along the deep sand of the Baker beach and climb up one of the attractions of San Francisco, the Equinox Sand Ladder (400 steps upwards).

As far as this start is extremely popular, its slots are raffled off.


  • Location: Terchova, Slovakia
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Full distance (2 km — 90 km — 21 km)

Race features

One more extreme triathlon with a classic distance and Slovakian couleur. The race takes place in the indescribable mountains of Slovakia.

The swimming stage in the crystal clear lake; the cycling stage with the grades having a 15-18% gradient; the uphill running with the finish at the top of 2600 meters (1.62 miles) above sea level.

The key feature of this race is its organizers. They manage to make the race extremely atmospheric and friendly. During the race and after the finish you will feel like a member of a big triathlete family.


  • Location: London, England
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Olympic and Sprint distance

Race features

All participants of a triathlon competition in London get a unique opportunity to swim, ride and run through the center of one of the oldest cities in Europe.


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An interesting cycle route, swimming 500 meters (0.31 miles) from the London airport and an easy run leave pleasant memories of participating in this bright and memorable start.


  • Location: Embrun, France
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Long distance (3,8 km — 188 km — 42 km | 2.63 miles – 116.82 miles – 26.1 miles), short distance (1,5 km – 42 km – 10 km | 0.93 miles – 26.1 miles – 6.21 miles)

Race features

After Norseman and Janosik you may think that there are no more challenging starts. Meet Embrunman. The race in the French Alps.


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The uphill distance on the bike stage is a record 5000 meters (3.1 miles)!!! And Yes, after that you still have to run 42 km (26.1 miles), and before it you are to swim 3.8 km (2.36 miles). Do not forget about the mountain air and acclimatization, because you will swim and run at the altitude of 800 m (0.5 miles) above sea level, and the top point of the bike stage is at about 2300 m (1.43 miles). It is a difficult, but dazzling start.


  • Location: Malibu, USA
  • Official web resource:
  • Distance: Short distance (0,8 km — 30 km — 6,5 km | 0.5 miles – 18.64 miles – 4.04 miles)

Race features

The first triathlon starts were held near Los Angeles, in San Diego. Many people are aware of this, but they usually do not know that California has become a real Mecca of triathlon. There is a huge number of triathlon starts, and one of them is Nautica Malibu.

The start of the swimming stage takes place on the famous Malibu beach. The cycling stage goes along the Pacific Ocean towards Los Angeles, and the run goes along the same beach. Can you imagine? I think this start in the triathlon homeland just cannot leave participants indifferent thanks to its unique atmosphere.

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