15 Fall Half-Iron-Distance Tris
Looking to wrap up your tri season with a fall half-iron-distance race? There are tons of options across the country.
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Looking to wrap up your tri season with a fall half-iron-distance race? There are tons of options across the country for swimming, biking and running those 70.3 miles, but these 15 races, which take place September through November, are a good starting point.
106 Degrees West Dillon Triathlon
Sept. 9, 2017
You can race in the “highest tri in the world” at this Rocky Mountains race—the bike course peaks at 10,291 feet of altitude. Starting with a swim in Lake Dillon, North America’s highest deep-water marina and located just west of the Continental Divide, athletes ride through historic mountain towns, maxing out at more than 10,000 feet of elevation, followed by a half-marathon around Dillon Reservoir, in the shadows of the Tenmile Range and Gore Range mountains.
Best in the West Triathlon Festival
Sweet Home, Oregon
Sept. 9, 2017
One of the only long-course tris in the state, Best in the West is a chance for you to race a half-iron-distance race on an especially scenic riverside course. The race starts with a not-too-frigid, one-loop swim (water temp expected around 72 degrees) in a lake, followed by an out-and-back bike. The ride features twisting country roads following the river, with two substantial climbs and rolling hills in between. The run is a two-loop, double out-and-back course that allows you to keep tabs on the competition while running on park trails and shaded roads. Another perk of this low-key local event: the 8 a.m. start time.
Sept. 9, 2017
Get a little slice of American history with your 72.3-mile race (the bike is 2 miles longer than normal) as you swim, bike and run next to the famous Jamestown settlement. Conveniently located a few minutes off the freeway in Williamsburg, this race will have athletes swimming in the James River before riding 58 miles through rural countryside on mostly flat, well-paved roads before a flat and fast half marathon on a combo of bike paths and running trails.
Black Diamond Long Course Triathlon
Sept. 9, 2017
This Black Diamond race is the last long-course tri of the season in the Pacific Northwest. Taking place in Nolte State Park, at the base of the Cascade Foothills, athletes are rewarded with a rural and beautiful course. The long-course tri begins with a two-loop swim in Deep Lake before a gently rolling bike on country roads (with generous shoulders) through the quiet, sleepy communities of Cumberland, Selleck and Ravensdale. The run starts and ends in the park, including a 1.4-mile loop on the forest trail surrounding the lake. The course is spectator-friendly, with a swim beach, kids’ play area and spacious picnic area all within the park and in view of transition.
Diamondman Challenge Festival
Sept. 10, 2017
Taking place in Lums Pond State Park, this spectator-friendly race is Delaware’s longest-running triathlon. Taking place the weekend after Labor Day, the course starts with a one-loop swim in Lums Pond (expected water temperature is around 74 degrees) followed by a flat and fast two-loop bike course. The run course takes place entirely inside the state park on a mix of smooth trails, grass and crushed gravel, and is almost entirely shaded. What makes the course especially spectator-friendly (and family-friendly) is that you can see your athlete multiple times from one location—the swim, transitions, bike start and finish, and run start and finish all take place within a small area, and there’s a playground and picnic area to enjoy during the race, plus fishing and paddle boats in the Lums Pond to enjoy post-race.
Pumpkinman Half Iron
South Berwick, Maine
Sept. 10, 2017
Get your Thanksgiving meal in early at this 10-year-old New England race, which hosts 550 multisport athletes and 50 relay teams every year. Featuring an Olympic-distance race in addition to the half-iron, the Pumpkinman serves a post-race Thanksgiving dinner, complete with roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and (of course) pumpkin pie. You have to earn that pie, though—half-iron athletes will complete a swim in Knights Pond, a 56-mile beautiful rolling bike course along the well-maintained (and paved) Easter Trail followed by a two-loop half-marathon on a scenic course with a downhill start. You can cheers post-race with beer from the Maine-based Shipyard Brewery, then enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner at noon (friends and family can order tickets for the meal as well).
SavageMan 70.0 Triathlon
Sept. 16, 2017
This race claims to be the “world’s most savage and most beautiful triathlon,” and while technically it’s 0.3 miles short of a half-iron-distance race, its brutal hills will make you thankful it’s a teensy bit short. It takes place in the pristine and rugged Allegheny Mountains of western Maryland, which offer stunning vistas when you’re trying to catch your breath after steep mountain climbs. The race’s claim to fame is the Westernport Wall, a 31 percent grade climb (packed with screaming, cowbell-ringing spectators), the steepest climb in triathlon. If you make it all the way up the wall without touching down a foot, you name will be engraved in triathlon history—you’ll actually get a personalized engraved brick laid in the road. The course starts with a swim in the crystal-clear Deep Creek Lake, then takes athletes on a ride over smooth yet challenging roads in Garrett County before a run on Deep Creek State Park trails and lakeside roads.
Outer Banks Triathlon
Manteo, North Carolina
Sept. 16, 2017
Get a slice of history in this tiny coastal town on Roanoke Island—part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, it’s home to the birthplace of English colonization in America. This half-iron-distance race starts at the Old Swimming Hole next to a regional airport on the island as well as one of the North Carolina Aquariums. Swimmers will be treated to views of the Croatan Sound and nearby bridges before taking on the out-and-back bike course on a smooth, flat road over the Manns Harbor Bridge (more than 2.5 miles long!) with little traffic and plenty of views of the marsh and wetlands. The flat out-and-back run is mostly shaded and heads through the airport and around the Manteo area and to the north end of Roanoke Island.
Bear Lake Brawl Triathlon
Bear Lake, Idaho
Sept. 16, 2017
Now taking place on the Idaho side of Bear Lake (a freshwater lake that spans the Utah-Idaho border), the Bear Lake Brawl Triathlon is the only race that takes place in this spectacular aqua-blue body of water. Over the last decade, this race has grown to spread across two weekends, with a sprint and Olympic one weekend followed by a half and full the next. The 2017 edition will see a new venue for the race start and finish at the Bear Lake Hot Springs, a move that’ll save racers money on parking fees and sales tax (none in Idaho!). Also, doesn’t sitting in a hot springs after a race sound fabulous? The race starts with a brisk (water temps expected between 62 and 65 degrees) one-lap swim in the picturesque lake followed by a bike ride through the town of St. Charles and a one-loop out-and-back run toward St. Charles. After you grab a cup of hot soup (or ice cream!) at the finish, you can take a dip in the hot springs.
Ironman 70.3 Augusta
Sept. 24, 2017
If the swim is not your strength, 70.3 Augusta makes a great choice for a half-Ironman—with the point-to-point downstream swim in the Savannah River, the 1.2 miles will be over in no time! Savannah also serves as a beautiful and historic backdrop for your 70.3 miles—it’s one of Georgia’s oldest cities and offers a mix of classical and contemporary style with a touch of Southern charm. After your swim PR (wink, wink), you’ll head out on a single-loop bike ride through the Georgia and South Carolina countryside over challenging hilly terrain. The two-loop run takes place within downtown Augusta, guaranteeing spectator cheers throughout the half marathon, then finishes on Broad Street.
Ironman 70.3 Super Frog
Imperial Beach, Coronado, California
Sept. 24, 2017
This historic race on the island of Coronado, just across the bay from beautiful San Diego, is the longest-running half-iron-distance race in the world, having been around since 1979. The challenging course was designed by a group of Navy SEALs stationed at the U.S. Navy SEALs center on the island to prepare them for racing Kona and to enhance their training. In 2016, the race moved a few miles from its original spot to Imperial Beach. The race starts with a two-loop swim in the open Pacific Ocean (with a 100-meter run between loops). Athletes then take on a flat and spectator-friendly four-loop bike course with views of the ocean. Then comes the run, the most challenging part of the course: Athletes will run a four-loop course with more than half of it on sand, reflecting the beach running that SEALs do in training. In addition to paying for the challenging course and scenic ocean views, your registration fees will also be going to a good cause: $200 of each general entry will be a tax-deductible donation to the Ironman Foundation—it will be used to support military and local charities including the Navy SEAL Foundation, the Optimists Club of Coronado and the Islander Sports Foundation.
Oct. 1, 2017
Not only cars go fast in Indy. The only open-water half triathlon in the city of Indianapolis, this point-to-point race starts from Eagle Creek Beach and will likely feature cool fall temperatures. After T1, cyclists will leave the park and travel throughout northeast Hendrick’s County on an 11.5-mile loop with few hills and minimal traffic, as it’s mostly country roads. The scenic run course is gradually uphill on the way out and downhill on the return. The course has PR potential, and it will be capped at 500 athletes for both the half and Olympic distances—race organizers are expecting it to sell out this year. Bonus: A portion of the race’s proceeds will go toward connecting the city of Indy via trail development.
Trick or Tri Presented by Performance Bike
Oct. 28, 2017
The weekend before Halloween, this Los Angeles-area tri (this is the first year for the half-iron-distance race) takes place at the 836-acre Santa Fe Recreational Area, which features a 70-acre lake and is hidden at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. The swim takes place within the spring-fed and chlorinated lake and includes circumnavigating the lake’s prominent island. The flat-and-fast seven-lap bike course is completely closed to vehicles, and the flat run loops around Santa Fe Dam Lake. The half will be the only half in the Orange, LA or Ventura Counties this year.
Ironman 70.3 Austin
Oct. 29, 2017
Half of the appeal of this half-Ironman is in its destination—Austin is a unique city with an amazing live-music and food scene. Late October is the perfect time of year to come to central Texas (not too hot), and this race boasts one of the only indoor finishes on the circuit. The course starts with a 1.2-mile, one-loop swim in Decker Lake, a recreational freshwater lake with average water temps between 72 and 78 degrees. The one-loop bike course takes athletes on a scenic and rural ride past ranches, cedar-covered vistas and prickly pear cacti in the Texas farmlands. The bike ends at Luedecke Arena, where athletes take off on a three-loop half marathon before finishing back inside the arena, a pleasant place for family and spectators can escape the heat to watch athletes finish.
Miami Man Half Iron
Nov. 12, 2017
You get to run through the zoo at the end of this half-iron tri in Miami. It starts with a two-lap swim (with a short beach run between laps) in Larry and Penny’s crystal-clear lake before heading out on the bike course, which passes through farmland within Miami-Dade County. The run course, which was voted participants’ favorite part of the race last year, takes athletes through the back gate into Zoo Miami, where they run past multiple zoo animal exhibits. This year, the race will also serve as the USA Triathlon Long Course Triathlon National Championships.