Our featured analysis focused on the World's Best Ironman Triathlons, but in a unique way. The 'Best' triathlon really depends on what the triathlete's abilities and goals.
- First-Timers or PR Seekers: For those choosing a first race, or for those who want to set a PR, the best races are ones with faster times, lower DNFs.
- Crush the Competition/Qualify for Kona: But for others who have the fitness, ability and desire to crush the competition, and maybe even qualify for Kona, the best races are the toughest in every aspect.
- Top 50% to Top 25%: Finally, for the athletes somewhere in-between, the best races are the ones that play to their strengths -- better cyclists can take on races with tougher bike courses easier run courses; same principal could work in reverse for strong runners who need a bike course that is somewhat forgiving
Here are some general parameters to consider when matching your goals and abilities with your potential best races.
With those criteria in mind, we created the we took a completely new approach to ranking the Best Races: we compared and contrasted 30 different Ironman triathlons based on the relationship between their bike and run splits. Here's our analysis as published in Triathlete Magazine, to help pick your best race based on your fitness, abilities and goals.
- First-Timers or PR Seekers: Races with fast bike splits and fast marathon courses, Green races in lower left quadrant of the graph
- Crush the Competition/Qualify for Kona: It you've got the ability and fitness to outgun the field, choose the toughest race courses, upper right quadrant, labeled in red
- Top 50% to Top 25%: If you're a strong runner, but cycling's more of a challenge, choose a race with a faster bike course, upper left quadrant, orange labels; if cycling's your strength, a course with faster run splits may be best for you.
A More Traditional View: Top 25 Best Triathlons
For great races that afford outstanding experiences, regardless of difficulty, these are our Top 25 Best Triathlons, in approximate Calendar Order. How do these races compare? We've done the analysis for most full and half ironman distance events on the list: Toughest/Easiest Ironman; Toughest/Easiest Half Ironman.
- Bonita Ironman New Zealand
- Panthers Ironman Australia
- Wildflower Festival Triathlons
- Ironman Coeur d'Alene
- Escape from Alcatraz
- Buffalo Springs Half Ironman
- Ironman Lake Placid
- Lifetime Fitness Triathlon
- Ironman 70.3 Racine
- Ironman Louisville
- Chicago Triathlon
- Ironman Canada
- Timberman Half Ironman Triathlon
- Steelhead Half Ironman Triathlon
- Vineman Full Distance
- Aflac Iron Girl Triathlon
- Nautica Malibu Triathlon
- Ironman Wisconsin
- Ironman UK
- City of Los Angeles Triathlon
- Austin Longhorn Half Ironman 70.3
- Ironman Triathlon World Championship Kona, Hawaii
- Ironman Arizona
- Ironman 70.3 World Championship
- Ford Ironman Florida
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