Norseman Xtreme
Norseman Xtreme © José Luis Hourcade

Iron-distance races: the 11 toughest

Make no mistake all 11 of these Ironman distance triathlons are tough and not for the faint-hearted, but which is the toughest long-distance race of all? We crunch some stats to find out...

07) Norseman Xtreme, Norway: Tough Score 85/100

Long fabled as the hardest race on planet tri, the Norseman is so tough you’ll need a support crew throughout. And with a 15:35hr median finish time, the stats don’t lie... 

"The Norseman is an adventure. I could prepare for Kona," says Tim DeBoom who is a two-time Ironman world champ and won here in 2011, "but this one is a lot more abstract as you have to train on the course descriptions. The swim and the bike were what I expected, but the final 20km of the run caught me off guard. There’s a 12km section with a gradient of 10% called Zombie Hill, and that’s a good description. The finale is a 1,500m slog up rocks and scree – it was like power hiking – that ends at the top of Gaustatoppen. Put simply, it’s the toughest race I’ve ever done.


Continue reading our guide to the 11 toughest irons (6/11)


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You've missed Swissman,

Arguably harder than Norseman at the least.


There's probably a typo for the Lanza swim temp. 29C is far from reality! Maybe 19C at best.


Don't forget the new one on the other side of the pond, Project DM


Take a look at /

That's a new tough one.


Agree wietcth TuckandGo with Swissman. And what about Altriman, Stonemanx Xtri (ambleside).... etc

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