From a £45 women-only sprint to a full-blown overseas Ironman adventure via kayaks, high-altitude swims, midnight starts and many, many mountains, this race special proves that triathletes have never had such a variety of racing forms and locations to choose from.
But with some 2019 events already full or close to selling out, now’s the time to plot your next season of PB targets, personal milestones and triathlon holidays. So where should your multisport adventures take you in the year of 2019?
Here we’ve picked 23 of next season’s greatest challenges, starting with the UK’s longest-running tri at the Queen’s weekend gaff and ending on Europe’s oldest 226km iron-distance race, with plenty of new races, innovative formats and aquatic adventures in between.
Some will already be on your radar, some may have escaped your tri gaze, but all will provide a hugely-rewarding experience, the chance to race in a stunning destination and a massive surge of enjoyment to boot. We’ll see you on the start line in 2019…
Date: TBC October 2019
Okay, travelling abroad for your first race may seem a touch indulgent, but it’s hard to argue with warm Adriatic waters, a closed-road course and an UNESCO World Heritage Site backdrop. And all from the reliable organisational hands of John Lunt, the man who gave us Windsor and the 2012 Olympic Games triathlons.
Over to our columnist Tim Heming on whether Dubrovnik deserves a place on your itinerary for 2019, whether you’re a beginner or experienced athlete alike. “There are races that offer a calm, wetsuit-optional sea swim, there are others that provide closed-bike courses that are flat and safe for novices, and still more that provide a scenic backdrop. There are some that also offer plenty of cultural options when you strip off the Lycra. But a destination that ticks all those boxes is a challenge, and that’s where Dubrovnik wins out.” earthseafire.eu
Try if... You’re tempted by a new racing destination, late-season sun and a generous dose of culture.
Date: 16 June 2019
Why race? Iconic is an overused term, but the Windsor Tri truly deserves the moniker. It’s been testing triathletes since 1991 with sprint and Olympic distances yet refuses to stand still, with a run into the Great Park recently added.
Date: 14 July 2019
Why race? This women-only sprint race has won plenty of plaudits for its supportive atmosphere, smooth organisation and pretty course. The route takes in a 750m River Dee swim, a mostly flat 25km bike before a 5km park run in Chester Meadows.
Date: 20-21 July 2019
Why race? The uniformly-scenic Castle Tri Series races are perennial favourites for newcomers to tri. The vast choice of race distances help when picking the event to suit your skills, with the Castle Howard edition one of the most attractive of the series.
Date: 26 July 2019
While its bigger brother, the Long Distance, hogs the headlines, the Alpe d’Huez Short Distance Triathlon still boasts plenty of skyward ascent over its duration.
The race begins with a 1.2km swim in the pure yet biting waters of the Lac du Verney, located at an altitude of 700m and closed to swimmers 364 days a year. The 28km bike cuts almost instantly to the tough stuff, with the climbing starting after Bourg d’Oisans to the summit of Alpe d’Huez, one of pro cycling’s most legendary climbs. The hills are continuous, with gradients consistently stuck between 10 and 13%, and elevation gain is nearly 1,500m (more than many Ironman bike legs manage in their 180km duration).
The 6.7km run course is a mixture of trail paths and roads, and athletes are tasked with battling the high-altitude conditions throughout. And not being distracted by the jaw-dropping views...
Try if......You want to experience pro cycling history and some of the best scenery in all of triathlon.
Date: 26 May 2019
Why race? The debut SWYD (Sleep When You’re Dead) Tri sold out in 2018 and returns as an ITU Sprint qualifier. The bracing sea swim of 750m is the major challenge, before the swift 20km bike and 5km run courses will leave all fast-twitch fibres aching.
Date: 8 June 2019
Why race? The Fishguard kicks off with an early-season sea swim of 750m before a 5km climb begins the 20km bike course fun. The concluding 5km run is flat and fast, and takes athletes onto the Fishguard breakwater and back. fishguardtriathlon.com
Date: 14 July 2019
Why race? This event has swiftly established itself as an Olympic-distance toughie, with a 1.5km Atlantic swim giving way to a hilly bike on the North Devon coast. The 12km run, meanwhile, takes things off road and includes a leg-sapping beach run.
Date: 8-9 June 2019
A ferry journey that will probably turn you green. An impossible to predict weather system. And a true endurance test involving 40km of swim-running. Welcome to ÖtillÖ Isles of Scilly, adventure racing in its purest sense.
Set on the mystical, mostly car-free specs of paradise (pop. 2,300 over the five inhabited islands) some 35 miles
off the Cornish coast, ÖtillÖ Isles of Scilly is the Swedish swimrun pioneer’s sole UK offering.
The World Series event features a minimum of eight swim legs totalling around 8.3km and 29km of trail running (shorter Sprint and Experience races are also on offer), and standing before pairs of athletes in the rural idyll are ocean swells, rocky outcrops, wince-inducing waters and calf-busting beach runs. But, also, the most welcome post-race Cornish ale and pasty you’ll ever consume. otilloswimrun.co
Date: 12 May 2019
Why race? There are few betters ways to explore a foreign country than racing tri, and this provides both a rising race organiser and tourist destination. The event offers a calm 1.9km swim, a lake-hugging 90km bike and a UNESCO World Heritage Site run.
Date: 8 June 2019
Why race? With multiple events in Ireland, the Quest Adventure Series arrives in the UK with this trail run, kayak and bike event. Three total distances of 25km, 42km and 53km are on offer, with kayaks provided as part of the entry.
Date: 17-18 August 2019
Why race? The Starman begins at midnight with a 1.9km swim in the black waters of Loch Morlich. Post-T1, the 90km bike rolls along the silent Speyside roads before the 21km run takes in exposed mountain climbs as dawn breaks.
Date: 31 August 2019
Why race? The run/bike/run sibling to the Brutal Tri has a healthy claim to be duathlon’s toughest event. The Full race begins with a 25km trail run before a 186km bike through Snowdonia. The final run is a 15km journey up Snowdon and back down again.
Date: 28-29 September 2019
Why race? The Super League is the rising force in elite tri, but the events aren’t restricted to pro racers. The dynamic Enduro age-group races witness athletes swim, bike and run in short intense races, before doing it all again.
Date: 11 May 2019
Why race? Glorious Stourhead is the jewel in Immortal’s 113km crown, offering competitors the chance to race around the estate. After a 1.9km swim, the 90km bike takes in Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset, before the 21km run finishes outside
Date: 12 May 2019
Why race? Race New Forest have sadly confirmed that 2019 will be their last year of hosting races. You can see them out in style at the Swashbuckler, which boasts a 1.9km swim, a 90km New Forest bike and a multi-terrain 21km run. racenewforest.co.uk
Date: 15 June 2019
Why race? This Titan sold out in 2018, so you’ll have to get your tri skates on if you want to race it. The event starts with a lake swim before the 90km bike takes in the rolling roads of the Brecon Moors. After a climb to T2, the 21km run is on a fan-friendly route.
Date: 18 August 2019
Why race? Aberfeldy is a firm fixture on the Scottish tri scene. The race begins with a 1.9km swim in the fresh waters of Loch Tay before the bike leg traverses Highland Perthshire. The 21km run leg takes in Taymouth Castle and the River Tey. durtyevents.com
Date: 15 September 2019
Featuring the Slateman, Snowman and Sandman, Always Aim High’s Adventure Tri Series continues to grow each season, with more and more athletes heading to North Wales to take on the gorgeous, friendly and smoothly-organised, short-course challenges. And for 2019, it’s literally the races that are expanding, with a middle-distance Legend event added to each race in the series.
The Sandman seen here is located in Anglesey’s Newborough Forest and starts with a 1.9km sea swim on Llanddwyn Beach, which gives way to a 93km bike tour of the Welsh island. The concluding half- marathon, mixed-terrain run is set on forest trails and the titular sand before ending in one of AAH’s reliably-good event villages. Sprint, Classic and Duathlon races are also available during the weekend.
Try if... You want to end your race season on a high in one of Wales’ most stunning spots.
Date: 6 October 2019
This popular Costa Brava-set race has become the annual season closer for the European full-Ironman season, and it does so in style with sea, sun and maybe a post-race sangria or two in the pretty seaside town of Calella (58km northeast of Barcelona). The race begins with an Ironman Athlete’s Choice Award-winning 3.8km sea swim in the warm October waters of the Mediterranean, before the two-lap and mostly flat bike course largely hugs the coastline and encourages some swift 180km bike splits. The three-lap marathon run continues the seafront theme and heads north from Calella to Santa Susanna and back, before a spectator-friendly finish adjacent to the beach. Calella is also the host of Ironman 70.3 Barcelona on 19 May 2019. ironman.com
Try if... You want to race an award-winning, international M-Dot and have a post-race tri holiday in the process.
Date: 25 May 2019
Why race? Our world’s toughest tri gains an even harder sibling in 2019 with the addition of an ExtremeX version of the already bonkers TriathlonX (set for 29 June). The race sees a total vertical ascent of 7,350m and a run that scales Helvellyn. Twice.
Date: 28 July 2019
Why race? The Outlaw is a regular winner of the 220 Race of the Year award. Much of this acclaim comes down to the friendly vibe, smooth organisation and the Notts course that’ll appeal to iron beginners and PB hunters alike. outlawtriathlon.com
Date: 14 September 2019
Why race? Almere is Europe’s oldest iron-distance race and is unique in that it takes place below sea level. The 226km course marries the rural and the modern, and takes in the classic Dutch landscapes of windmills, tulip fields and very flat roads.