Training > Long distance

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 seven European iron-distance triathlons suitable for newcomers to 226km racing…


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A photo posted by Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz (@trivitoria) on Sep 13, 2016 at 5:12am PDT

4. TRIATHLON VITORIA-GASTEIZ, Vitoria Gasteiz, Northern Spain: beginner score 74/100

For a country with nearly 5,000km of coastline, long-distance races in mainland Spain are fairly race. Yet the Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016 and regularly draws thousands of European triathletes to northern Spain for its full and half iron races.

And what a beauty it is, with picture postcard rolling hills, a medieval city centre marathon and some of the greatest food and (post-race, of course!) wine in the nation.

The race starts with a two-lap swim (with an Aussie exit halfway through) in the calm waters of the Ullibarri-Gamboa lake before the gently rolling bike takes in the Alava plains. The flat marathon run boasts four laps around the old town of Vitoria-Gasteiz and features raucous support to boost those flagging minds and bodies.

The northern weather can frequently be wet in summertime and temperatures don’t usually reach the frying pan highs of Seville and co. in the south of the country, but temperatures have reached the mid-30s during the race on occasions.

Another potential issue for beginners is the 16hr cut-off time, as opposed to the usual 17hr one for long-distance races, which leaves little margin for error. (The cut-off was in-fact 15:20hr in 2016 and that may well explain a relatively high DNF rate that saw 153 of the 755 full athletes posting DNFs in 2016.) You’ll get a rare mini iron lie-in, though, with an 8am iron start…

Continue reading our guide to the 10 most beginner-friendly irons in Europe (6/8)


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I'd like to correct a factual innacuracy in number 10. Ireland also has the Hard Man long distance Tri. It's held in Killarney and includes a swim in one of the famous lakes, the cycle is the wonderful Ring of Kerry and it's rounded out by a few laps of Killarney National Park, yet another stunner of a location. It's well priced and has been the national long distance championship in the past and will be again in 2018.
I don't get commission but having participated in the past, I have to say this is a massive oversight.

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