Triathlon can take you places – and we’re not just talking about the weekend group ride. At iconic races around the globe, triathletes can swim, bike, and run through just about every bucket-list destination, from the beaches of Malibu to the bustling metropolis of New York City. But these races are more than a stunning backdrop for Insta-worthy race photos – they’re a destination in and of themselves. With sweet swag, massive crowd support, deep competition, and unique challenges, today’s must-do races are delivering unforgettable experiences and bragging rights for life.
Whether you’re a sprint specialist or in it for the long haul, there’s no shortage of iconic races. Choose your own adventure, then head to TrainingPeaks to get a customized training plan that will have you ready for the big day.
Don’t say it’s “only” a sprint – this short distance is packed with the good stuff. A beginner training plan is the best way to learn the ropes of triathlon, while advanced sprint training prepares you for an all-out push to the finish line.
Where else in the world can you toe the starting line next to movie stars, Fortune 500 Company CEOs, and professional athletes? The Malibu Triathlon is the place to see and be seen, with thousands of athletes each year racing in and alongside Malibu’s beautiful Zuma Beach to raise money for UCLA’s Pediatric Cancer Research program.
Laguna Phuket Triathlon
This race has a little bit of everything: a swim through both the Andaman Sea and a freshwater lagoon, a scenic bike course that winds through the Phuket countryside and local villages, and a run that mixes road, trail, and sand. Through it all is unparalleled support from race volunteers and the community, who make each and every athlete feel like the rock star they are.
Blenheim Palace Triathlon
Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England
Taking place on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Blenheim Palace Triathlon is an absolute must for those who want a world-class experience on race day. The idyllic setting of the race is a true British experience, from the idyllic gardens dotting the countryside to the transition area right in the courtyard of the Duke of Marlborough’s home. If you can’t get enough, give the race another go, and then another – the event’s Weekend Warrior Challenge dares you race as many back-to-back sprint triathlons in one weekend as possible (currently, the record is 11).
It’s the most popular triathlon distance for a reason – the race is long enough to tap into your endurance skillset, but short enough that you can push the intensity. Choose an Olympic distance training plan that strikes the perfect balance for your best race day experience.
For more than 30 years, triathletes have gathered on the shores of Lake Michigan for one of the largest triathlons in the world. But don’t let its size fool you – an abundance of friendly Midwest volunteers ensures every athlete gets individual attention from registration to finish line. A protected harbor swim, flat ride along Lake Shore Drive, and rollicking run through Downtown Chicago’s Museum campus lets you see the best of Chicago in the best way possible.
New York City Triathlon
New York City, New York
Once a year, the city that never sleeps shuts down to give triathletes a one-of-a-kind experience as they swim, bike, and run through the concrete jungle. After a current-aided swim in the Hudson, athletes zip along the West Side Highway before making their way to the run and finish line in Central Park. After the race, enjoy a slice of NYC-style pizza at the finish-line festival while listening to the lullaby of Broadway.
Mark the Olympic year with an Olympic-distance triathlon in an Olympic host city – the London Triathlon consistently rates as one of the top in the world, and for good reason. The unique urban route allows participants to swim, bike, and run through the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the London Eye, Westminster, London Bridge and the O2.
Can’t get enough of the swim-bike-run fun? Level up to long course with a half Iron distance training plan that will get you ready for race day without taking up all your free time.
Ironman 70.3 Oceanside
Race in the footprints of legends at the birthplace of triathlon in beautiful southern California. Oceanside is a favorite of pros and age-groupers alike, thanks to perfect weather, a fun beach swim, and a bike course that allows athletes an exclusive detour through the Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton (and yes, the Marines definitely OORAH you on your way).
Ironman 70.3 St. George
St. George, Utah
If the scenery doesn’t take your breath away, the elevation profile will. The stunning red rocks of the St. George desert make for a fun-filled day of grueling climbs and super-fast descents on the bike and run. Want to really test your mettle? After a ten-year hiatus, St. George will also host a full Iron distance race in 2022 for double the fun.
Barrelman Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Sure, you could pay a lot of money to pack into a crowded tourist boat at Niagara Falls. Or you can swim, bike, and run alongside both the Canadian and American sides of the Falls on this VIP course for athletes. Highlights include a clear canal swim, flat-and-fast bike course, and looped run that features both the roar of the crowd and the roar of Niagara Falls.
It’s not just a race – it’s a lifestyle. Training for a full Iron distance triathlon is a journey and celebration of what the human body and spirit can achieve. Get the right training plan, and get ready for the ride of your life.
Roth bei Nürnberg, Bavaria, Germany
With a crystal-clear swim, packed crowds cheering athletes on from either side of the iconic Solarer Berg climb, and a flat run that is easy on the legs, it’s no wonder this race is the ideal choice for athletes looking to set a PR. But Challenge Roth is more than just a fast race – it’s a full-on celebration of triathlon, with locals rolling out their very best food, music, and hospitality for every athlete.
Norseman Xtreme Triathlon has become widely regarded as the world’s toughest race —and also one of the most coveted. More than 3,500 people from 80 countries enter the lottery each year in hopes of snagging one of 250 spots on the starting line. The lucky few who make it are treated to a jump from a car ferry into freezing-cold waters, more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain on the bike, and sky-high climb to the mountaintop finish line. It’s a challenge (and an experience) unlike any other in the world.
Ironman World Championship
The ultimate test of grit awaits on the lava fields of the island of Hawai’I, where the best Ironman athletes from around the world descend each October. For many athletes, the race is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice to qualify for this iconic event. The Big Island rewards this dedication with a combination of beautiful scenery, amazing crowd support, and inspirational stories of tenacity and redemption. It’s worth the effort to qualify.