Middle-distance triathlons: 8 of the UK's best half-irons for beginners
Want to try a 70.3 but wondering which half-Ironman distance triathlon is best for first timers? Here we pick our top 8 UK middle-distance triathlons suitable for newcomers to 113km racing…
Half iron, Ironman 70.3, middle-distance, half-Ironman… whatever you want to call it, 113km racing is on the rise. And it’s an achievable and hugely-rewarding experience, yet comes in as far more manageable and less all-consuming than full iron-distance racing.
Happily, like their bigger siblings, they invariably take place in spectacular settings, from stately homes to the rolling hills of Snowdonia and more gorgeous lakes than you can poke a set of aerobars at.
So, onto our UK top eight, which we’ve rated in terms of elevation gain, water temperature, cost and cut-off times. We’ve also ranked them according to average finishing time and how what proportions of triathletes DNF’ed at the race in 2017.
All the swim legs, apart from the Monster Middle (this is a river swim and we have deducted one point for this), take place in lakes, which we think is the optimum body of water for beginners, and the perfect total bike elevation is seen as 500m over the 90km.
Of Ironman’s UK-based logistically impressive and slickly run events, it’s 70.3 Staffordshire that edges Edinburgh and Weymouth as the pick for beginners due to the calm and warm lake swim (although the latter two also have much to recommend them for 113km novices, especially Weymouth’s flat seafront run leg).
The 70.3 Staffs races consists of a single loop 1.9km swim in Chasewater reservoir before a rolling 90km bike through the countryside outside Lichfield, Burton-upon-Trent and across the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The half marathon run takes athletes around the Stafford town centre before finishing in Market Square.