Celtman Extreme © Colin Henderson

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...

05) Celtman Extreme, Scotland: Tough Score: 86/100

It’s a sibling to the Norseman in the Xtreme Tri family, but this North West Highlands event may be even harder than its big bro. Time then to assess the Celtman’s tough cookie credentials…

"The Celtman experience is an adventure in nature and a battle against the elements, as much as it is a race against fellow competitors," says Chris Stirling who came 2nd in 2015.

"A bracing swim in a Scottish sea loch full of locals (jelly fish) starts the day. The bike is 202km and you’re exposed to Atlantic winds on the hilliest parts. Expect the final 40km to be into a headwind with long, draggy climbs, lonely and exposed. Onto the run, it’s uphill straight off to shake the biking legs before the mountain of Ben Eighe looms. The climb to its summit is like a wall (over 950m of ascent in a few kms), basically it’s extreme power hiking onto the rocky spine of the mountain. The rough downhill has your quads in agony, before a final cruel stretch of flat tarmac to finish. Yet it’s worth every second of pain… 1,000 times over."

Check out some photographs from the 2015 Celtman Extreme


Continue reading our guide to the 11 toughest irons  (8/11)


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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 www.Thorbeachtriathlon.com / https://www.facebook.com/Thorbeachtriathlon

That's a new tough one.


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

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