Short-course triathlons: the 11 toughest in the world?

Ironman racing may grab most of the ‘toughest triathlon’ headlines but short-course racing still throws up plenty of challenges to triathletes across the globe. Here are what we think are the toughest short-course triathlons (under 60km bike leg) in the world - do you agree?

From swims in muddy outback creeks to iconic Alpine mountain climbs and Himalayan trails, here we’ve compiled a list of some of the toughest, craziest and memorable sprint- and Olympic-distance races on Planet Tri.

In terms of qualifying criteria, we’ve capped the total race distances at 60km and have picked the optimum water temperature at 21C (warm, but not too warm to make it a non-wetsuit swim. And both road and trail events are eligible.

In a change from our usual toughest triathlons in the world series (Irons, middles, beginners), here we’ve added five bonus points for off-road triathlons and five points for any race that takes place 5,000ft (1,524m) above sea level.

Time, then, to let the short-course battle commence, starting with a gem in Snowdonia.


Plas y Brenin, Snowdonia

If snow is unlikely in July, even in the seeming microclimate that is Snowdonia, the Snowman delivers on its promise of being top race organisers Always Aim High’s toughest short-course race.

The swim quicks off in the shallow Llyn Mymbyr before a 30km bike through the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The 5km run, meanwhile, takes athletes into the forests of Braich Bryn-engan.

Continue reading our guide to the world's toughest short-course triathlons (2/11)


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