*Not Your Granny’s Turkey Trot*
Pumpkinman Triathlon (South Berwick, Maine)
Sept. 7-8, 2013, Half-iron and sprint
Finishers of Pumpkinman are evangelical about their experience—and for good reason. South Berwick locals go out of their way to offer a race weekend participants won’t forget. If the helpful volunteers and enthusiastic spectator support don’t spur you to a PR, perhaps the post-race buffet will—finishers are treated to a turkey dinner with all the fixings.
*America’s Iconic Ironman*
Ironman Lake Placid (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
July 28, 2013, Iron
Set in the charming former-Olympic ski town of Lake Placid, this race is what Ironman is all about. The centralized athlete village and supportive community give a sense of unity throughout the week, and the relaxed vibe makes it easy to slip into vacation mode before and after the race. Although you’ll be challenged by the hilly bike course, the views of waterfalls, mountains and fly fishers in roadside streams can make you temporarily forget you’re racing.
RELATED PHOTOS: 2012 Ironman Lake Placid
*Eight Stages Of Chaotic Fun*
Survival of the Shawangunks (S.O.S.) Triathlon (New York)
Sept. 8, 2013, Unique
The format of the challenging point-to-point SOS Triathlon takes a minute to grasp: 30-mile bike, 4.5-mile run, 1.1-mile swim, 5.5-mile run, 0.5-mile swim, 8-mile run, 0.5-mile swim, 0.7-mile run. Oh, and did we mention you have to carry your gear the whole time? (Tip: The top finishers have found that the fastest way to swim with running shoes is to shove them in their tri shorts.) You’ll run on carriage trails and swim through multiple mountain lakes on the way to the final steep climb to the finish at a stone tower.
*Green, Clean Racing Machine*
Musselman Triathlon (Geneva, N.Y.)
July 14, 2013, Half-iron
Musselman’s small-town feel, eco-friendly practices (finisher medals are made from recycled bike cogs) and passionate race director all contribute to a well-run race boasting unique perks: The bike course is swept the day before the race, and a bike shop fixes any flats in T1 while racers are still in the water. Swim in one of the crystal-clear Finger Lakes, and bike past pristine Mennonite farms (watch for grooves in the road from buggy wheels!) and rolling vineyards. Enjoy an abundance of fresh fruit post-race, provided by presenting sponsor Red Jacket Orchards.