Kona Out Of Reach? Try One Of These Other Triathlon Championships

Get stoked on one of these five championship alternatives—and get to work.

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The allure of competing in Kona brings many into the sport, but there are several other triathlon championship options that make a fantastic carrot to keep you excited and motivated. Stick these goals in your calendar and get pumped!

Life Time Tri New York City Championship

New York, New York
July 21, 2019
The Appeal: VIP treatment at an iconic race

Finish in the top five at the international distance in any of the seven Life Time Tri Series races and you’ll be rewarded with a slot to the New York City race as well as some pretty awesome perks: free bike shipping, VIP finish line tickets, a goodie-filled backpack (worth over $200), the chance to compete for prize money, and more. If that’s too tough, you can also compete in two separate regions and finish in the top half of your division to qualify.

USA Triathlon Age-Group Nationals

Cleveland, Ohio
Aug. 10-11, 2019
The appeal: A fun short-course championship with 5,000-plus participants

There are several ways to earn a spot at this Olympic-distance national championship event, but the simplest is to finish in the top 10 percent of any USAT-certified triathlon. While qualifying can be easy (especially at smaller events), Nationals competition is top notch. Intimidated by the qualification process? The sprint-distance race (which takes place the day after the Olympic race) has no qualification criteria. Simply sign up and get ready to soak in the championship atmosphere.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Nice, France (for 2019 only)
Sept. 7, 2019
Appeal: Kona-like atmosphere, but with more international flair

We’re not saying this 70.3 championship is easy to qualify for, but there are strategic ways to greatly improve your chances at earning a starting spot. The biggest key is to compete at a 70.3 event that is far away from the world championship destination. Spots for 2019 (Nice, France) and 2020 (Taupo, New Zealand) will likely have some rolldown at U.S.-based events. The 2021 race will take place in St. George, Utah, so your best bet during that qualifying period will be to travel abroad.

Toughman Championship Half NY

Stony Point, New York
Sept. 15, 2019
Appeal: Local race feel with the chance to earn some money

The culmination of Toughman’s international series is this half-iron distance event, located just 20 miles outside of New York City. Though it is a championship event, there are no requirements for earning a spot—simply register and you’re in. There’s a $25,000 age-group-only prize purse, and a kids’ race that makes it an ideal weekend event for the whole family.

XTERRA World Championship

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Oct. 27, 2019
Appeal: Tough-as-nails course with a laid-back race vibe

This Hawaiian world championship comes with a different challenge than Kona and a much more relaxed atmosphere. Shifting your focus toward o -road triathlon can be a fun way to get new perspective on multisport and elevate your tness—and grit— to new levels. Qualify through slot-based allocation at 39 races in 29 countries, with XTERRA Oak Mountain (Alabama), XTERRA Beaver Creek (Colorado), and XTERRA Hawaii Island serving as the U.S. options. Like the 70.3 World Championship, your best bet for qualification is to travel internationally.

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Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.