Still trying to finalize your race schedule for 2011? Find out what the sport’s top athletes consider their must-do events.
Click on an image to find out that athlete’s favorite race.
Linsey Corbin Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii): The most competitive Ironman. You never know what is going to happen, except that it’s a guaranteed suffer-fest!
Ironman 70.3 Pucon (Pucon, Chile): The Chileans know how to have fun! A challenging and fair course with great post-race celebrations.
Photo: John Segesta Chrissie Wellington Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii): The hallowed lava fields of Hawaii have changed my life in so many wonderful ways.
Challenge Roth (Roth, Germany): Such an incredible atmosphere and fantastic support.
Photo: Paul Phillips Matt Reed St. Anthony’s Triathlon (St. Petersburg, Fla.): A great family event, warm weather and smoothly run. Plus, talk about interaction with the amateurs. I love that!
Ironman 70.3 California (Oceanside, Calif.): A truly challenging swim-bike-run course, and I love how many times my kids can see me out there racing.
Photo: Nils Nilsen Mirinda Carfrae Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii): For obvious reasons.
Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship (Laguna Phuket, Thailand): For the cheap mojitos on the beach!
Photo: Nils Nilsen Luke McKenzie Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival (Noosa, Australia): The biggest triathlon in Australia with all the best athletes from swimming, cycling and running competing in three days of events.
Photo: Kurt Hoy Amanda Balding Ironman 70.3 St. Croix (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands): An amazing race in an amazing place, with the most incredible homestay program. The pre-race “jump up” street party is a festival that no one should miss—steel drums, ribs, chicken and Cruzan Rum!
Ironman Brazil (Florianopolis Island, Brazil): Hands down the most amazing Ironman—what a place to visit! Ken Glah has a travel organization that helps you explore Brazil and makes the language barrier a non-issue.
Photo: Kurt Hoy T.J. Tollakson Ironman 70.3 Vineman (Windsor, Calif.): A true destination haven, and the awards being La Crema wine bottles only adds to the appeal.
Hell of the West Triathlon (Goondiwindi, Australia): A small grass-roots race in the middle of nowhere in Australia. It’s flat, hot and windy. They have a great post-race party complete with a drive-through liquor store and plenty of beer.
Photo: Aaron Hersh Tyler Butterfield Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (Philadelphia): It’s similar to the old U.S. Cycling Pro Nationals. It’s a great course! Belinda Granger Challenge Roth (Roth, Germany): It’s steeped in so much history and tradition and the atmosphere during race week is like no other in the world. It’s simply electric; the entire town buzzes.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon (Laguna Phuket, Thailand): Mixing racing with a great holiday destination is the perfect combination. It’s a super tough course and a fantastic organization. I’ll return to this race for as long as I can.
Photo: Challenge Wanaka Julie Dibens Wildflower Long Course (Lake San Antonio, Calif.): Even though I’ve only done it once, this race has such great history. It’s a stunning location, a hard and fair race, and I love the atmosphere with the campers and college kids.
Photo: Nils Nilsen Leanda Cave Ironman Arizona (Tempe, Ariz.): The weather is almost always great, the crowds are amazing, the aid station volunteers are in costume and post-race there are hot french fries and heaps of pizza.
Garmin Alpen-Triathlon (Schliersee, Germany): In the heart of the Bavarian Alps. You get a true taste of the culture, food and beer, and the scenery is amazing. It’s a tough race, but worth the effort.
Photo: Aaron Hersh Paul Matthews Boulder Peak Triathlon (Boulder, Colo.): Awesome location (my U.S. hometown), hard bike course and great running on the gravel—a little less impact than the road.
Noosa Triathlon (Noosa, Australia): Location, location, location! There’s a reason why it’s the biggest race in Oz.
Photo: Aaron Hersh Michellie Jones Escape from Alcatraz (San Francisco): Just telling people you swam from Alcatraz is pretty cool.
Ironman 70.3 Philippines (Camarines Sur, Philippines): The local villagers are unbelievable—the best cheering ever! Plus you can wakeboard after the event or get your hair done.
Photo: Nils Nilsen Shonny Vanlandingham Xterra Richmond (Richmond, Va.): It’s a real off-road triathlon with technical terrain in an urban setting around the site of Civil War battles.
Xterra Brazil (the Amazon): It’s my favorite and I haven’t even raced there yet (it’s on my 2011 race schedule)! How can you get more adventurous than swimming in the Amazon River with piranhas, and biking and running in the Amazon jungle with jaguars?
Photo: Xterra Tim O'Donnell Ironman 70.3 St. Croix (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands): A true classic, old-school style. The island is beautiful but the best part of the race is the community.
Immenstadt Triathlon (Immenstadt, Germany): The hardest course I have ever done and a true test of ability and grit.
Photo: Paul Phillips
Melanie McQuaid Ironman 70.3 Vineman (Windsor, Calif.): It fuels my wine-drinking habit!
Xterra Sardinia (Sardinia, Italy): Along with wine, the post-race party features a bucket made out of Parmesan cheese and filled with Parmesan cheese.
Photo: XTERRA Photos Craig Alexander Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii) and Ironman 70.3 St. Croix (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands): These two are in a dead heat for my favorite! Photo: John Segesta Tom Lowe Ironman Arizona (Tempe, Ariz.): I loved every minute and mile of that race, and having a great result helps too! To come through the transition area at the start and finish of each lap is electrifying. Photo: Rich Cruse