The fastest (and slowest) Ironman courses aren’t on U.S. soil.
When it comes to long-course race planning, athletes in search of a PR like to seek out the fastest Ironman and 70.3 courses. Descriptors like “flat and fast” are the reason why like Ironman Arizona, Florida, and Texas sell out, while races with a reputation for hilly profiles tend to have registration spots available right up to the day of the race.
But if you want to do the absolute fastest Ironman courses, you’ll have to get out of North America. In an analysis of average age-group finishing times since 2010, two European races took top honors: Luxembourg 70.3, with an average age-group finishing time of 5:27:23, and Tallinn (Estonia) for the full Ironman, with an average age-group finishing time of 11:37:16.
But what about the slowest races overall? Those honors go to the Philippines, where we find both the 70.3 and full Ironman courses with the slowest average finishing times: 6:45:27 and 14:31:02, respectively.
Only one North American event makes it on either list of slowest or fastest Ironman courses: Ironman St. George, which comes in fifth on the list of “slowest” Ironman courses. Its difficulty (and therefore low participation numbers) was one of the reasons the race was cancelled in favor of a 70.3 event in 2013, but tough courses never die – Ironman announced the full-distance race would be making a comeback in 2020 and 2023 as part of a rotating series of Ironman host cities. (The 70.3 event will also be sticking around, playing host to the 2021 World 70.3 Championship event.)
Slowest and Fastest Ironman and 70.3 Finishing Times for Age-Groupers
The Ironman data is analyzed using age group finishing times for all races worldwide since 2010, excluding relays and events in which a discipline was cancelled or shortened.
Slowest Ironman 70.3 courses:
- Ironman 70.3 Philippines – Avg. Finish Time: 6:45:27
- Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire – Avg. Finish Time: 6:44:43
- Ironman 70.3 Bangsaen – Avg. Finish Time: 6:43:45
- Ironman 70.3 Langkawi – Avg. Finish Time: 6:41:35
- Ironman 70.3 Davao Philippines – Avg. Finish Time: 6:40:12
Fastest Ironman 70.3 courses:
- Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg – Avg. Finish Time: 5:27:23
- Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast – Avg. Finish Time: 5:29:07
- Ironman 70.3 Maceió – Avg. Finish Time: 5:30:22
- Ironman 70.3 Punta del Este – Avg. Finish Time: 5:30:57
- Ironman 70.3 European Championship Elsinore – Avg. Finish Time: 5:31:33
Slowest Ironman courses:
- Ironman Subic Bay Philippines – Avg. Finish Time: 14:31:02
- Ironman Malaysia – Avg. Finish Time: 13:55:03
- Ironman Gurye Korea – Avg. Finish Time: 13:48:12
- Ironman Taiwan – Avg. Finish Time: 13:47:47
- Ironman St. George – Avg. Finish Time: 13:45:28
Fastest Ironman courses:
- Ironman Tallinn – Avg. Finish Time: 11:37:16
- Ironman Barcelona – Avg. Finish Time: 11:39:04
- Ironman Copenhagen – Avg. Finish Time: 11:40:21
- Ironman Mar del Plata – Avg. Finish Time: 11:40:35
- Ironman Brazil – Avg. Finish Time: 11:46:58