The most popular triathlons are mainstream for a reason; they're usually in a prime location, are well-supported and have a drool-worthy course. While we're no doubt fans of these iconic races, there's more to the sport than a handful of well-liked destinations. Triathlon after all is a sport founded by grassroots initiatives, and many races across the country have held true to the spirit of these humble beginnings despite blowing up in popularity.
From IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii to the Turtleman Triathlon in Florida, these 10 under-the-radar triathlons in a variety of lengths and formats are some you should add to your 2019 calendar.
IRONMAN 70.3 Texas
April 7, 2019 in Galveston, Texas
This event is a great destination race for both athletes and their families. Despite the occasional ocean breeze off the Gulf of Mexico, the course is flat, safe and packed with cheering spectators—perfect conditions for your next PR. The surrounding area is family friendly as well, with the Pleasure Pier down the street, ocean adventures to be had and some delicious local cuisine to enjoy.
IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii
June 1, 2019 in Kohala Coast, Hawaii
All triathletes know the storied history of triathlon and the Hawaiian islands, but unfortunately not everyone will qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship. To get a similar atmosphere without the strict qualification procedures, consider adding IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii to your 2019 calendar. While the route isn't the exact same as its 140.6 big brother, you'll still race on the Queen Ka'ahumanu and enjoy all the sights and sounds the island has to offer.
June 2, 2019 in Cambridge, Ohio
This USA Triathlon-sanctioned race is not only more affordable, but it has an interesting course to boot. The 1.2-mile swim begins off a boat dock and is a two-lap course in Salt Fork Lake, the 56-mile bike course is a challenging out and back route with almost 5,000 feet of climbing, and the run is a two-lap course through the park and includes four miles on the Shadbush Trail. Look no further than TOUGHMAN Ohio if you're seeking a real challenge in 2019.
Iron Girl Syracuse
June 2019 in Brewerton, New York
Heading into its 11th year, Iron Girl Syracuse is all about creating a supportive and empowering environment for women to foster an active lifestyle and compete in triathlon. The event takes place at Oneida Shores Park and includes a 600-meter swim, 30-kilometer bike course and a 5-kilometer run. Afterwards, enjoy the post-race café, custom finishers medals, giveaways and other women-specific goodies.
June 2019 in Jupiter, Florida
This well-supported race is a perfect option for a new triathlete or someone looking for an open water swim. The Turtleman Triathlon is beginner friendly and offers both a super sprint and a sprint-distance option. The swim takes place in the Atlantic Ocean, the bike course is pancake flat and takes place on closed streets, and the run turns onto Ocean Dr. and features picturesque ocean views as well as a lot of spectator support.
Solana Beach Triathlon
July 2019 in Solana Beach, California
From the surf-entry ocean swim to cycling and running down the Pacific Coast Highway, the Solana Beach Triathlon has it all. As part of the San Diego Triathlon Series, this event offers a sprint triathlon, sprint duathlon and a sprint aquabike and is USAT sanctioned. Besides access to the iconic course, an entry includes chip timing, access to the beer lounge, admittance to the post-race expo, a continental breakfast and a commemorative tech T-shirt.
WIN for KC Women's Triathlon & Duathlon
July 27, 2019 in Smithville Lake, Missouri
This women-only race is one of the most socially and environmentally responsible triathlons on this list with composting and recycling available to reduce its carbon footprint. The swim takes place in Smithville Lake, the bike course is mostly flat through county highways and the run takes place on paved trails. Perfect for beginners and veterans alike, this might be the course you're looking for to get your next PR in 2019.
Mesa Sprint Triathlon
September 2019 in Mesa, Arizona
Triathlon can be a tough sport to love if you're afraid of swimming in open water. The Mesa Sprint Triathlon prides themselves on a "safe and fun environment" for everyone by featuring an eight-lap pool swim, a square bike route with minimal turns and a run course that stays in the confines of the park, high school and aquatics center. If completing a triathlon is one of your 2019 goals, the Mesa Sprint Triathlon may help you check that box.
September 7, 2019 in Freeport, Maine
This is a sellout race and is familiar to many east coast triathletes, but west coast triathletes may not be familiar with this iconic destination race. The Lobsterman Triathlon is an Olympic-distance race and includes a 1.5-kilometer swim that starts at the boat launch in Casco Bay, the 40-kilometer bike route follows the scenic coastline and includes a couple climbs and the 10-kilometer run takes place on closed roads and features plenty of spectator support. The race is followed up with a full lobster bake for an authentic New England experience.
Catalina Island Triathlon & Duathlon
November 2, 2019 in Avalon, Catalina Island, California
Located on a small island off the coast of California, the Catalina Island Triathlon is one of the best hidden secrets in the triathlon community. The half-mile swim takes place in the clear cold water of Avalon Bay, the 17-kilometer bike route features three loops with 477 feet of elevation gain on each loop and the 3.1-mile run follows the coastline past the casino before heading into the hills and back to the finish. Bring the family and make a weekend out of this island-style race in 2019.
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