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

4. COTSWOLD 226, Ashton Keynes Water Park, Gloucestershire: beginner score 78/100

Great for beginners and PB hunters, the 226 is a small but much-loved fixture on the UK iron circuit. Much of the appeal for newcomers will be the low-key, manageable logistics, which combine with the beginner-friendly course.

New Iron race set for the Cotswolds

“There’s plenty of space and everything you need is close by as it’s a fairly small event,” says Mary Morton, who finished in 104th place in 2015 (13:40:58). “You don’t need to rack the day before, and registration is painless as there are plenty of helpful bods to help you out.”

The swim takes place in calm, clear and predictable waters and sighting is easy due to the large buoys and several landmarks.

Onto the two-lap bike course and there are some gentle climbs in store. “The countryside is beautiful,” says Morton, “and it’s a privilege to ride past the grand country estates on the smooth road surfaces. There are only a few technical turns and climbs, yet the course is quite exposed at some points so the wind can really exacerbate spray if it’s raining. Support is a little thin so the sight of marshals regularly is a welcome one; it can get a little lonely at times but the views make up for it.”

The run is flat but the four lap circuit “can be a bit psychologically damaging if you see athletes already with one or more bands when you start. The aid stations are well-stocked and the organisers had offered to supply anything we asked for, which was a great touch.”

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


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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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