Ironman-distance triathlons: the 10 best European Irons for beginners
Which Iron-distance triathlons are best for first timers? A long-distance triathlon is never easy but there are some that are more beginner-friendly than others. Here we pick our top 10 European iron-distance triathlons suitable for newcomers to 226km racing…
With a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run, an Ironman triathlon is never going to be an easy experience.
But some courses are more suited to Ironman newcomers than others, with two-lap lake swims, gently rolling bike courses, flat marathon runs and bumper crowds providing more 226km beginner-friendliness than the epic Norsemans, Brutals and Swissmans on the circuit.
And a temperate climate free from the winds of Ironman Lanzarote, the chills of the Celtman or the humidity of Hawaii will certainly help triathletes complete the epic journey.
In terms of housekeeping, races are given extra friendliness points for the size of the crowds, the ideal water temp is set at 21ºC (not too warm to make it a non-wetsuit swim but far from cold) and extra points are added for multiple swim laps (especially with an Aussie exit onto land and back into the water halfway through) for psychological and physical benefits.
Elsewhere, a gently rolling bike course is seen as optimum (too flat and you’ll be pedalling constantly for 180km) and races are docked points for having a total cut-off time shorter than the usual 17 hours.
So which is the most beginner-friendly iron course in Europe? Here we pick our top top 10 events to ease you into world of Ironman.
10. CHALLENGE GALWAY, Galway, Ireland: beginner score 70/100
Along with the White Bear Triathlon, Challenge Galway is Ireland’s only long-distance 226km event.
The 2016 debut witnessed a choppy sea swim in chilly Galway Bay before the lumpy 180km bike route along the Wild Atlantic Way. Here athletes will contend with boys the winds and loneliness, with the one-lap course taking in some remote and stunning coastal scenery.
The run is flat, with just 90m of elevation gain over the 42.2km duration. And, given both Challenge and the Irish know a thing or two about putting on a cracking atmosphere, the support throughout the marathon is likely to be an unforgettable part of the day.