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Perhaps, one can say that triathlon can be held anywhere. The world is full of challenging terrains and waters which are the two components needed for a triathlon. In some countries, triathlons are held in remote areas while in some it’s the main event for a local festival or just about any celebration.
There’s just plenty of opportunities for an enthusiast. The world is one great big triathlon stage. However, not all triathlons regularly held in different places around the world is alike. There are those that competitors consider easy enough for beginners and there are those that are too tough participants would need plenty of preparations before they even think of signing up for.
If you compare triathlons that are being held all over the world, you must consider different factors that make one event tougher than the other. More extreme landscapes and terrains, makes races more difficult. Distance and time required in order to complete the race is also important. The present of natural elements such as strong wind and heat also makes triathlon events even harder.
To give you examples of popular triathlons. Here is a list of the world’s toughest triathlons:
Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
First on the list is this extreme triathlon regularly held in Norway. Norsemen were known to be strong, wild and tough. It’s not surprising that participants are required to surpass challenges that Norsemen had to lived through every day of their lives. It is held in western Norway where the terrain is wild.
Competitors have to swim for 4 kilometers in the remote Eidfjord and cycle 180 kilometers over five mountain passes with extreme vertical ascent and finally run to the top of the Mount Gaustatoppen which stands 1.9 kilometers high.
Aurlandsfjellet Xtreme Triathlon
Still held in Norway, this extreme triathlon is held in the mountainous area and plateau along the border between two Norwegian municipalities.
The race begins with a swim along the fjord that stretches up to 1.9 kilometers. After which competitors must bike their way for 98 kilometers to reach the starting point for a 1.1 kilometer climb up a Nordic Mountain during the 21 kilometer running section.
Ironman World Championship
One of the most popular and biggest triathlon in the world, the Ironman World Championship was first held in Hawaii. Later on, the even is held in different locations all over the world. It centers on the tagline, anything is possible.
There are different categories and classifications and races are held in the different continents. When it comes to earning a spot, this is of the hardest triathlons in the world. The competition starts with a mass swim which is not only very challenging but very dangerous as well. The bike and run courses are quite as difficult as the initial swim too.
However, participants usually endure and continue because at the end of the race a grand reception by a wildly cheering crowd that await them at the finish line.
This is a triathlon held annually in western Maryland, USA. From the Deep Creek Lake to the Allegheny Mountains, competitors must get through the different obstacles so they can become worthy of the title, the “savage man.”
Athletes are required to finish the race within the 9-hour time limit. Swimming should only be within 1 hour and 15 minutes. Biking should only be for 6 hours and running should only be for a total of 9 hours with first lap within 7.5 hours.
The 9 Bar Helvellyn Triathlon
This is the event held in the northern part of England. Surely, one of the world’s toughest triathlons. Participants are required to swim in the crystal clear water of Ullswater, cycle through the infamous “struggle” to the top of the Kirkstone Pass at 1,489 feet and run up and down Hellvellyn.
The accident that killed two participants in the course of the event in 2008 is a grim reminder of how perilous the course can be.
Brutal Extreme Triathlons
These triathlon events in North Wales is aptly called brutal. The race starts in the beautiful but cold Lake Padarn. The bike course will pass by a lot of beautiful sceneries but it does not make the track easier. Then competitors must finish the run route and eventually head on to complete the race with the mountain route.
Participants can choose to sign up for half, full or double brutal category with the challenges increasing with each level.
24 Hours Triathlon
This is an 24 hours event in Wisconsin where athletes have to endure a day of continuous swim, bike and run. Participants can join the solo division or the team division. For individuals or team to win, they must be able to log the most number of complete swim-bike-run combinations.
The team division is a lot easier where as the solo division is primarily for serious racers as doing the race over and over again alone will really be a great test of endurance.
This is one of the many Ironman events all over the world but it deserves a spot in the list primarily because of the level of difficulty that participants must be able to overcome before finishing the race.
The hardest part of this event is without a doubt the bike course. Cycling, athletes must climb a mountainous area of up to 2,551 meters above sea level. Height along would have been okay, but because of its high altitude, participants also need to battle strong winds which makes the journey to the top even harder.
The world’s toughest triathlons are usually held in countries or locations with extreme terrains. They are mostly done only annually but enthusiasts and athletes from all over the world will really flock the event. More than the medals and the trophies, triathlon athletes are motivated by the thought that they can challenge themselves with greater obstacle courses and improve their records each time they join.
This article listed only a few of the toughest triathlons in the world. There are a lot of other triathlons held across the globe. If you dream of participating in any of the world’s toughest triathlons, you should start somewhere more friendly to beginners and make your way up. Who knows? One day, you’d be able to finish any of the races mentioned above.
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