Triathlon – when it comes to demanding ways to spend your leisure time, it’s certainly up there! But, should the general concept of swim, bike and running prove an underwhelming prospect, then consider these select events, which take the concept of toughness to a whole new level, and then some…
11th May – New Forest
A continuous triple iron distance triathlon in the New Forest. Competitors swim 7.2 miles, ride 336 miles and run 78 miles. If you stop for a break, the watch doesn’t. A cautionary word from the Race Director: “This is the world of Enduroman: it is not the normal world of triathlon racing.” Beware the challenges of night running and riding, dark woods, tough climbs and twisty trails, as well as the sheer distance of the event. It’s certainly one way to earn your cake.
15th Sep 2018 – Llanberis
Described as a ‘life experience’ more than a race, you can expect to visit places you’ve never been before, in every sense. This is ‘The World’s Toughest Triathlon’ (as voted for by 220 Triathlon) but it is renowned for its low-key and friendly vibe. The challenging terrain and breathtaking scenery creates an awesome experience that will stay with you long after the aches and blisters have gone! The pinnacle of the event must be the run, which takes you on an undulating trail round the lake before you summit Snowdon; Wales’ highest mountain.
The distances available are Half, Full and Double (the Triple will be back in 2019)
2nd Sep 2018 – Ullswater
Described repeatedly as ‘one of the toughest triathlons in the world’, competitors start with a swim in the crystal clear waters of Ullswater, before cycling up the infamous ‘Struggle’ to the top of the Kirkstone Pass (1489ft). You then finish off with a trot up and down Hellvellyn – a mere 3118ft of vertical ascent.
16th June 2018 – Wester Ross, Scotland
If it’s extreme iron-distance triathlons you’re after, you could do worse than to consider this one in the spectacular Scottish Highlands. From the RD: “Make no mistake – when we say this race is extreme we mean it. Read the race information carefully before entering as you may have to endure cold water, strong winds, driving rain and difficult conditions on the mountain with low visibility.” And the good news? A swim in the cold, deep, jellyfish-infested waters of the Atlantic, A 202Km bike course which takes you through some of the most scenic routes through the Highlands, and a run course that includes the ascent of two of the mountain tops in the Beinn Eighe massif.
19th August 2018 – Budleigh Salterton, Devon
Jurassicman Extreme Triathlon is a point-to-point, iron distance event that starts in Devon and finishes in Dorset.
With over 8600ft of climb on the bike and 3675ft along the coast path run section, this is not an event for the faint hearted. Includes a sea swim, hilly point to point cycle and a tough coastal path run to the finish in Lulworth Cove. Bring snacks.
4th August 2018 – Snowdonia
The long distance event features a 91 km cycle route through the heart of Snowdonia National Park and includes many of its infamous climbs, the largest among them being the Crimea and Pen y Pass. The run route for the Full and Legend races culminate in a mighty ‘run’ up nearby Moel Siabod – a 2,981 foot peak which casts a shadow over the Snowman finish line below.
15th September – Ben Nevis
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it: 1.2 mile sea loch swim, 56 mile road cycle, and a 13 mile hill run to the summit of Ben Nevis and back.
It takes commitment, determination and a whole lot of heart to conquer this breath-taking course. Victory, though is sweet, with views from the summit extending up to 120 miles!
16th June 2018 – Waterhead, Cumbria
With an iron distance winning time of 14 hours and 26 mins (elite triathlete Steve Clark) and a start time of 4.30 am, this really does present to you a triathlon, multiplied.
Voted the World’s Toughest ‘Ironman’ by 220 Triathlon in 2016, this event presents almost 17,000 feet of climbing in total. You follow the renowned Fred Whitton cycle sportive route on the bike before running to the summit of Scafell Pike.
Be warned: “THE FULL X PUNISHES YOU LIKE NO OTHER TRIATHLON.”
18th August 2018 – Loch Morlich, Scotland
A half iron distance race that STARTS at midnight. Athletes will begin by slipping into the eerie waters of Loch Morlich. You will ride through the dark, silent, snaking tarmac roads of Speyside and finish with the brutal switchback climb at the base of Cairn Gorm. On the run, you climb to the exposed mountain summit of Cairn Gorm, back down through Glenmore Forest, past the Green Loch to the Ryvoan Bothy, up and over Meall a’ Bhuachaille and be wrapped up just in time for breakfast.