Top 24 Swim-Bike-Run Races

Many triathlons take place around the globe every 12 months, from short, local races to full-length, hard-to-conquer competitions in some of the planet’s most attractive cities and scenery. It can be difficult to pick which triathlon to enter, so we have gone over our records and consulted athletes from varying backgrounds to help identify the greatest triathlons around the globe. This compilation is not comprehensive, and some races we’ve not mentioned may be included. Nevertheless, we can assure you that all of the races included in this list are truly amazing.

Best Swim-Bike-Run Races

1. Elbaman

Tuscan Archipelago, Italy

Elbaman: Triathlon on the island of Elba

Going for a dip in the lovely light blue Tyrrhenian Sea, cycling along the Tuscan Archipelago and running a marathon through the popular Marina di Campo in Italy. Small wonder this event is sold-out months in advance. Greetings to everyone at Elbaman, the most renowned triathlon in Italy as well as the premier long-distance competition, having taken place since 2005. The backdrop of the story is Elba, which is Italy’s third largest Island after Sicily and Sardinia. It is situated 20km away from Piombino in the Livorno province. Beginning at 7am, competitors swim two laps of 1.9km in the comfortable waters of the Marina di Campo Bay, emerging onto the golden beach and transitioning into T1. After that, they embark on three rounds of cycling totalling 60km, around the western side of the island. The bike course is bumpy in comparison to the most tranquil waters. It is 180km long and covers 2,500m of elevation gain with few places to rest or flatten out. The scenery within the

The Mediterranean, including scrub and pine forests, can be seen in the stretch of land looking towards the Corsican shoreline that lies around 50km away, in addition to the beautiful 19th-century fishing town of Marciana Marina on the north shoreline, which can be viewed three times. Athletes will cover a 42.1km distance by running 3 laps of 14km each, beginning at Marina di Campo and eventually arriving back at the coastline to finish. This area is very quick and level, and there are numerous assistances on this course, however, competitors must combat the increasing temperature of September, reaching highs of the mid-twenties and higher, as well as enduring the stamina-sapping three-lap track The total number of competitors for the long-distance event is capped at 280 to minimize congestion on the route and make the mass swim start more manageable, in contrast to the middle-distance race which is open to 430 participants and held concurrently with the full Elbaman. Despite not having many star-level professionals in attendance, the competition has a massively diverse atmosphere, with participants from over 20 countries usually participating.

2. Embrunman

Hutes-Alpes, France/Italy border

Méthamis, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France Club | EMBRUNMAN on Strava

Evidence that St Croix does not have the sole claim for naming a bike to ascend “The Beast” is Embrunman, a race known for its momentous ascents on the bike and run courses that have long and honourable affiliations with the French triathlon. The first ever Embrunman took

place in the district of Embrun, located in the Hautes-Alpes department close to the France/Italy border on 19 August 1984. The event included a 750m swim, 30km bike and 10km race walk, and the Cote de Chalvet climb was already present in the bike portion, something that still challenges triathletes now. In the year after its inception, the race was established as the standard distance championship of France. This uncommon race, which was comprised of a 1.5km swim, a 70km bike ride, and a 21km run, brought about 280 participants and around 20,000 spectators to the small township of 6,000 people. The event in 1986 was a long and difficult one: consisting of a 4 km swim in a sheltered lake, a 131.5 km bike ride, and a hilly 42.1 km run with several steep climbs included.

The organizers stated that this course would be more challenging than Ironman Hawaii. In 1990, the bike course was altered one last time to include climbing the Col d’Izoard. The new route which measured 186km had greater difficulty, resulting in an elevation gain of 3,600m to be gained during the race; this was 1,000m more than the notorious Ironman Lanzarote. In 1988, an Olympic-length triathlon was included in the program in addition to the long-distance event, resulting in 520 participants. For the 1990s, the race was an organizer of four ITU World Cup events, drawing a large crowd of almost 100,000 spectators in the 1991 competition, which Mark Allen became the winner of. In 1994, Simon Lessing won the title. An unprecedented 1,500 competitors participated in the 1993 various formats of Embrunman, attracting an audience of 100,000 people. The modern Embrunman event takes place over days, with a duathlon on the weekend and contests for both young athletes and beginners. Just like the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon. The event is destined to be renowned for its demanding biking and running trails (as well as the possibility of high temperatures) that make it one of the most difficult triathlons out there.

3. London Triathlon

ExCeL, Docklands, London

London Triathlon 2023 - Against Breast Cancer

The biggy. At the ExCeL Centre in London’s East End, around 13,000 triathletes compete over two days across a range of events, such as super sprint, sprint, Olympic, and Olympic Plus, and have the option to join a relay. It has become so large that the event has now exceeded the number of entrants to the Chicago Triathlon and is now the biggest of its kind globally. About one-third of the more than 13,000 athletes who come to the London Triathlon each year are new to the sport. Over the years, the triathlon has seen numerous first-time races, and it has become quite a milestone for amateur athletes in the UK. The swimmers will dive into the waters situated in front of the ExCeL Centre for their deep-water start, then proceed along a two-way route in the Royal Victoria Dock’s undisturbed yet unpredictable waters. If you can remember where your bike is located inside the huge indoor transition area, you’ll be ready for the flat bike route, which takes place on closed roads. Those aiming to finish the course in under two and a half hours will travel through Big Ben, Westminster, and the Embankment before heading back to the ExCel through Canary Wharf. This run route is perfect if you’re aiming to beat your own times, as it’s quick, and even, and runs through the event area to the Royal Albert Dock before heading back to the interior finishing line. Hundreds of athletes, each accompanied by a support team, have created a delighted audience of locals beside the route, who cheer them on. Observing celebrities provides an extra layer of enjoyment, including Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, F1 driver Jenson Button, and Virgin businessperson Richard Branson. Added to this, numerous actors and singers have been on TV programs in the past, as well as past pop singers. Attendees of the event have the opportunity to observe athletes of various ages competing in the same race as some of the premier triathletes in the world, such as Daniela Ryf, Jodie Stimpson, Courtney Atkinson, and Helen Jenkins, all of whom have held trophies in the past.

4. Rev3 Cedar Point

Sandusky, Ohio Rev3.

Triple Threat Triathlon: September 2015

Cedar Point offers a leisurely swim in Lake Erie as well as a relatively easy bike and runs, providing a running event that is difficult yet manageable for beginners. Rev3 claimed that triathlon is not just about competing, it is also about being able to involve families. For this purpose, the organisation decided to have their iron-distance race at Cedar Point, an amusement park and water park.

5. Full Vineman Triathlon

Sonoma County, Calif.

Sonoma County's Vineman triathlon an All-American competition

The Full Vineman Triathlon, located in the stunning wine region of California, typically enjoys pleasant weather and a relatively small crowd of approximately 1,000 athletes. Furthermore, the thrilling swim in the warm Russian River is low-stakes and enjoyable. Another big plus: is Sonoma’s renowned wine—for the post-race celebration.

6. Ironman Arizona

Tempe, Ariz.

Drafting at Ironman Arizona? Based on the numbers, there will be a lot of it - Triathlon Magazine Canada

Ironman Arizona is widely chosen by newcomers to the sport of triathlon because of its manageable terrain and usually temperate late autumn climate. The event’s combination of three laps of biking and running gives a more enjoyable experience for spectators and makes the challenge feel less overwhelming.


7. Draft Legal Challenge at Clermont

Clermont, Fla.

2021 RESULTS — Clermont Triathlon

Clermont’s Draft Legal Challenge gives participants a chance to bike as the ITU pros do, utilizing drafting tactics. The bike race is totally blocked off by vehicles, and you can complete it in four laps. The runners have to do two laps, making it fun to watch from the sidelines.

8. S.O.S. Triathlon

New Paltz, N.Y.

SOS (Survival of the Shawangunks) the only race of its kind and the pictures say it all : r/triathlon

A run through the stunning Shawangunk Mountain Range with eight legs, known as the S.O.S. Triathlon is unlike any other. Competitors pedal for 30 miles before setting out on a path that goes through a verdant forest and traverses several lakes fed by springs; therefore, the highest-skilled racers are those who can swim the fastest while their running shoes remain tied to their feet.

9. ITU World Triathlon Series Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany.


2023 World Triathlon Championships, Hamburg CANADA | Nirvana

It is clear that Germans have a very strong enthusiasm for triathlons, and this can be seen especially at the ITU World Triathlon Series race in Hamburg. There is a lot of hype surrounding the competition, with an estimated 10,000 participants and 250,000 viewers eagerly awaiting the chaos that ensues. It’s known to be an exceptionally wild and joyous occasion. Many ITU pros say it’s their favourite event.

10. Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi wins bid to host 2022 ITU Grand Final in world first | 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi

Making the journey to the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in the United Arab Emirates will take some effort, but it will be worth it. Once you arrive, you will be captivated by the incredibly captivating land and after completing one of the most demanding races in the sport, you will understand why the effort was worth it.

11. Wildflower

Bradley, Calif.

Wildflower Blooms Again

Once a year, nearly 40,000 enthusiastic people set up camp around Lake San Antonio in Monterey County, California and revel in the scenic beauty while awaiting their chance to compete in either a half-iron, mountain bike or Olympic-distance race.

12. Escape from Alcatraz

San Francisco

Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon - Sundried

Stories of individuals who have swum through perilous waters, defeating sharks and conquering cold temperatures and intense currents, make up a part of the myth surrounding departing from Alcatraz. The myth about Alcatraz is somewhat false since the water surrounding it is too salty to support large sharks. Nonetheless, participating in the race is an absolute must should you ever obtain the opportunity, since it is highly sought after and requires special qualifications or entry through a lottery system.

13. Challenge Roth

Roth, Germany.

DATEV Challenge Roth cancelled -

Every year reports of streets clogged with euphoric supporters start trickling from a small community known as Roth in Bavaria. This is a potentially record-breaking event for athletes – last year, Chrissie Wellington and Andreas Raelert set iron-distance world records with their respective times of 8:18:13 and 7:41:33. A lot of triathletes think that it is essential to partake in this race at least once.


14. Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival

South Berwick, Maine.

South Berwick, Maine Club | Pumpkinman Triathlon on Strava

The Pumpkinman triathlon is well-known for its helpful volunteers, gorgeous course, and fantastic post-race feast. When Inside Triathlon asked its audience and social media followers to share their favourite events, they overwhelmingly supported the Pumpkinman race. Racers choose between a sprint and a half-iron-distance event.

15. Ultraman World Championships

Big Island, Hawaii

Peter Kotland, Shanna Armstrong favored in 24th Ultraman World Championship -

The Ultraman World Championships on Hawaii’s Big Island around Thanksgiving have an atmosphere which takes participants back to when triathlon first began as a grassroots event. Completing Ultraman is frequently described as a transformative experience due to the need to overcome the daunting 6.2-mile swim, 261.4-mile cycle, and 52.4-mile run.

16. The Xterra East Championship

Richmond, Va.

Chane, Menditto win XTERRA Oman

The Xterra East Championship is well known for its rough single-track, difficult swim and its unique place within a major city, which makes it rare within the Xterra series. Certainly, Richmond has 1500 acres of open public spaces as well as a newly improved city centre with a trendy atmosphere.

17. Xterra Southeast Championship

Pelham, Ala.

Josiah Middaugh Wins XTERRA Southeast Championship, Leads Series

Lesley Paterson, the current Xterra world champion, holds the Xterra Southeast Championship in high regard, praising its winding single-track and welcoming atmosphere. Along with that, the host city is well-known for being enthused about hosting Xterra events and throwing a good party for those involved.

18. TriRock San Diego

San Diego TriRock.

Are you going to IHRSA in San Diego this year? - Wexer | Wexer

San Diego is a part of the national race series that is tailored to welcome beginner athletes. It provides a fantastic experience complete with swim partners, lives music throughout the course (including the swim), free beer when you complete the race and a post-race concert. 19. Leon’s Triathlon

19. Hammond, Ind.


Leon's Triathlon returns to Region June 4

Leon’s Triathlon in Hammond, Ind., which is not far from Chicago, is nice and simple with a 40K bike route that does not involve traffic. After completing the event, you will be greeted with a hug from the race director, Leon Wolek.

20. Nation’s Triathlon

Washington, D.C.

After Canceling the Swim at Four Past Triathlons Due to Unsafe Water, Nation's Triathlon Is Teaming Up With Potomac Conservancy - Washingtonian

Investigation of the triathlete age groups demonstrates that many athletes began competing with aid from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. The Nation’s Triathlon, a Team in Training supporter and one-of-a-kind in America, runs through the architectural landmarks of the country’s capital. It has been organized to bring attention and cash to the fight against blood cancer.

21. Chicago Triathlon


Chicago Triathlon on Twitter: "Come for the epic skyline views, stay for the unparalleled access to the nation's top metropolis. We have a race for every age and ability, so kick 2022

One must experience the huge scale of the Chicago Triathlon at least once in their lifetime. Over two days, around 10,000 triathletes will be participating in a marathon that is widely held to be one of the largest races in the world, taking place through the streets of Chicago.

22. USAT Age Group National Championships

Burlington, Vt.

Milwaukee to again host USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in 2020 and 2021 | Milwaukee Independent

Compete in the USAT Age Group National Championships to demonstrate your strength in competition against the quickest age-groupers in the nation and pursue a national title – something rarely achievable for athletes not in college or professional sports. Even if you don’t aspire to a championship title, the competitions are usually held in beautiful places, ideal for family trips. This year it’s in the picturesque college town of Burlington, Vt.

23. Ironman 70.3 St. Croix

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

St. Croix Triathlon - Half Ironman - US Virgin Islands - USVI

St. Croix is known for having both substantial sloping terrain and sweltering temperatures, making it one of the most challenging competitions in the sport. This destination is favoured by many due to its abundant flora and dazzlingly white beaches. It is one of the few Ironman 70.3 competitions that have places available to participate in the Kona World Championships.

24. Triathlon Alpe d’Huez

Oisans, France.

Triathlon Alpe d'Huez - Bike Oisans UK

The L’Alpe d’Huez Triathlon in France hosts different types of competitions, including short-distance, long-distance, and duathlon for both kids and adults. Competitive swimmers begin in the inviting and unspoilt Lac du Verney, then have to ascend the Alpe du Grand Serre, the Col d’Ornon, followed by a difficult and demanding 21 switchbacks on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez. Completing the challenging mountains will be difficult, but when you do, you’ll be able to say that you did the same journey as Tour de France stars.



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