Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Last year, many of us didn’t race due to the pandemic. This year, many of us aren’t racing yet—due to so many 2021 triathlons being sold out or full. Ready to get back out on the race course, triathletes have been faced with races that either sold out in record time or at capacity from athletes deferring their 2020 registration. What’s a race-hungry triathlete to do? Find a local or national race—like one of these five—that’s a golden ticket to the start line.
“It’s clear athletes are eager to race again. We’re still a few weeks out and are nearly sold out,” said Kecia Place-Fencl, race director of the Ames Triathlon in Ames, Iowa. “We couldn’t be prouder to help athletes get back to racing and achieve their goals this year, especially as a grassroots race with a ton of local support.”
If you’re frantically joining waitlists, buddying up to race directors, and thinking about DIY-ing your own event (also an option), check out these five still open races instead.
Rev3 New England
August 6-8, 2021
Rev3 had a rocky past few years, but after taking a brief hiatus the race company triumphantly returned in 2019 (only to switch to virtual rac es in 2020) and looks to move forward with more 2021 triathlons like the Rev3 New England weekend-long triathlon festival.
Rev3 New England features a bike time trial on Friday, a sprint and kids’ tri on Saturday, and a half- and Olympic-distance race on Sunday.
Many triathletes love Rev3 events for their dedicated family feel—like being able to run down the finishers chute with your kids and pets, the supportive atmosphere, and the less-expensive entry fees when compared to other national brands (the half-distance race is currently $270).
Ironman 70.3 Oregon
July 25, 2021
As demand for race availability skyrocketed in the wake of a return to normalcy this spring, Ironman wisely added a new race: 70.3 Oregon, in the quintessential Pacific Northwest town of Salem.
With a swim, bike, and run that Ironman describes as all being “flat,” this race could serve as the perfect reintroduction to racing for those of us who have not yet toed a line since 2019. The swim is a point-to-point downstream venture in the Willamette River, followed by a bike that rolls through Oregon’s scenic wine country (and has an elevation gain of just 1,100 feet). Athletes will then finish up the day with a run that is primarily hosted in the Minto Brown Island Park and has few hills.
Post-race, stick around Oregon’s capital city for a bit and enjoy the award-winning pinot noir produced in the area, do some light hiking in the Willamette River Valley, and maybe even take the 90-minute drive out to the coast to get some recovery time on the beach.
September 25-26, 2021
The legendary Malibu Triathlon looks to make a strong return this September. And despite 2,500 people already signed up, there are still registration slots available for this iconic L.A. event.
The Malibu Triathlon raises money for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and draws multiple celebrity participants—previous ones have included Jennifer Lopez, Zac Efron, and Matthew McConaughey. Who wouldn’t want to say they beat The Office’s Rainn Wilson in a sprint to the finish line?
Athletes race along the California coast—swimming in the ocean, biking on the Pacific Coast Highway, and running down Zuma Beach. There are two distances for the event: an Olympic on Saturday and the “classic” Malibu distance on Sunday (.8K swim, 27.3K bike, 6.4K run), which folks can also choose to race as part of a relay.
CLASH Daytona (formerly Challenge Daytona)
December 3-5, 2021
For those who haven’t heard, Challenge Family North America recently rebranded as CLASH. The new CLASH is placing a high emphasis on events in North American speedways, like their flagship Daytona race, for fast and furious swim, bike, and run events.
CLASH Daytona will be returning again to the Daytona International Speedway with a three-day triathlon festival, starting with a 5K fun run and walk on Friday. Next up, on Dec. 4, the pros toe the line for a 100K (2K swim, 80K bike, and 18K run) all within the speedway and televised as they race for the title. Later in the day, the age-groupers will dive in for their own sprint distance triathlon or duathlon. Then, to cap it all off, Sunday features an age-group middle-distance tri with a mid-stadium finish.
The opportunity to race on the Daytona Speedway is a rare one and should most definitely be on every triathlete’s bucket list.
Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon
September 11, 2021
For those looking to add a half-distance race to their 2021 triathlon calendars, while enjoying the notoriously warm Colorado fall weather, consider putting the Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon on your calendar.
Hosted by local race company Without Limits, the local race is a Boulder-area favorite, having been held with rave reviews for the past 20 years. It’s considered the longest run and most affordable long-course race in Colorado. Race in the age-group or elite division through a 1.2-mile swim in the Boulder Reservoir, a 56-mile bike looping along local roads backed up against the foothills, and a 13.1-mile challenging run on the hilly dirt roads around the reservoir with a Slip n’ Slide finish. Or choose the duathlon or aquabike.
As if racing with the Flatirons in the background isn’t enough, Boulder is a Mecca for all triathletes and boasts some of the best health food, craft beer, and hiking to enjoy post-race.