Are these the 7 hardest triathlons in the world?

It's time to bring out the big guns – the big ultra daddies of all triathlons – but which have we named the toughest triathlon in the world?

6. Ultraman

Kona, Hawaii

Proving that the Ironman World Champs doesn’t have the hold of ultra tough Hawaiian world championship races is the Ultraman World Championships. The first Ultraman Triathlon was held back in 1983 and is a three-day, 515km multisport race.

Each race is divided into three stages over three days. Like the Ironman World Championships, the race starts in Kailua Bay, but this one throws in a 10km ocean swim to Keauhou Bay, with athletes facing open ocean swells, currents and the possibility of Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish. This is followed by a 145km cross-country ride, with vertical climbs that total nearly 2,000m.

Stage two is a 276km ride from Volcanoes National Park to Kohala Village Inn in Hawi, with total vertical climbs of 1,219m.

Stage three is a mercifully flat 84km double marathon, which starts at Hawi and finishes on the beach at the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

Each stage must be completed within 12 hours or less, with the swim portion of stage one must be completed in 5.5 hours or less. The race is limited to 40 athletes on an invitation-only basis and is the subject of Jim Gourley’s excellent book, The Race Within


Continue reading our guide to the toughest triathlons in the world (3/7)


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