World's best triathlons: 31 to do before you die
So you want to go out in style? You want to say, yep, done that and, without doubt, got the T-Shirt? But with so many races to choose from, how will your tri racing CV look when it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil? Well, look no further! Here's our list of the world's best triathlons...
And the winner is... Challenge Roth, the race where records are broken and speed legends made. Yes, Kona has more history and prestige, but for its atmosphere, crowds in excess of 200,000, community involvement and spectacle Roth is a triathlon like no other.
The race is the talk of the Bavarian town for months ahead of the race and, come race week, doors (and fridges) are opened and beds are made by local homestays to athletes and media across the area. But it's on race day where Roth truly astonishes.
The fun begins at daybreak at the Main-Donau Kanal, where spectators flank the canal banks and bridge over the swim start. Onto the bike and the truly iconic Solarer Berg climb comes quickly. It's triathlon's noisiest, most raucous and greatest spectacle, with tens of thousands supporters cheering from the first athlete to the last.
Bier Mile follows on the 180km bike before the marathon run takes athletes out of town and, to a pumping Euro-pop soundtrack, back into the huge amphitheatre-come-finishing chute.The final athlete before the 15hr cut-off is welcomed as loudly as the first, with a huge fireworks display to follow.
It’s also a race course with plenty of beginner friendliness, with the one-lap swim in calm waters, a rolling (but far from flat) bike through northern Bavaria and a flat riverside marathon run. We rated Challenge Roth Europe's 8th best Iron for for first-timers.
Once under the Ironman banner, Roth now sits comfortably at the head of the ever-increasing Challenge Family. Triathlon’s superstars – the McCormacks, Van Lierdes, the Wellingtons and the Frodenos of the world – come to do justice to the pancake flat, super-quick, small-town course.
Knowing that the hallowed eight-hour (for the men) and nine-hour (for the women) Ironman-distance record can be broken here (In 2016 Jan Frodeno broke the men’s record with a time of 7:35:39; while Chrissie Wellington broke the women's in 2011 with a time of 8:18:13), they flock to Bavaria to beat the clock and soak up the energy of the perma-happy crowd. Not even rain can drown out their cheers, tire their foam-finger waving or quieten their clacker twirling. Quite simply, there ain’t no party like a Challenge Roth party.