For most of us, though, that dream will only ever be that—a dream. But there’s more to triathlon than racing on the big island. Swim, bike and run to your heart’s content with these nine other bucket list triathlons.
Escape From AlcatrazSan Francisco, California 1 of 10
Inspired by the unlikely escape of prison inmates from the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, athletes have been braving the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay since 1981. Over 2,000 athletes will jump off the ferry near the island and head to the mainland while facing choppy conditions, 55-degree water and strong currents. Once reaching the mainland, you'll bike through Golden Gate Park and run through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This must-try race is well supported, has unrivaled views of the city and has deep roots in the sport of triathlon. Even better, you'll have bragging rights for the rest of your life.
WildflowerBradley, California 2 of 10
Coachella and Stagecoach have nothing on this festival-like triathlon. Wildflower has become one of the most popular 70.3-distance triathlons in the world and for good reason. Not only will you face a famously hilly course with legendary spectator support, but the post-race shenanigans include live entertainment, wine tasting, beer gardens, campfires and more. Come for the race, stay for the party at this low-key and grassroots-style competition. Aviator sunglasses aren't required despite what six-time Wildflower champion Jesse Thomas may tell you.
Nautica Malibu TriathlonMalibu, California 3 of 10
Whether you're a newbie or a triathlon veteran, the Nautica Malibu Triathlon checks just about every box for an ideal swim-bike-run. The swim takes place off the picturesque shores of Malibu, the bike follows the iconic Pacific Coast Highway and the run weaves along sunny Zuma Beach. Many corporate teams and celebrities toe the line, so don't be surprised if you pass (or get passed by) the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Garner or Matthew McConaughey.
Laguna Phuket TriathlonThalang, Phuket, Thailand 4 of 10
Ready to embrace your spirit of adventure? The Laguna Phuket Triathlon features one of the most beautiful courses on the triathlon scene. Not only will you swim through crystal clear seawater, but you'll also ride through lush jungle scenery (including some tough climbs) and run through Thailand's posh hotel resort area. This race is Asia's longest-standing triathlon and will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018.
Alpe d'HuezAlpe d'Huez, France 5 of 10
Most sports fans associate the French Alps with iconic aerial images from the Tour de France. But if you're looking for your own Alpe d'Huez experience, look no further than this race. You'll face a chilly swim through the crystal-clear waters of the Lac de Verney before biking up three famous mountain passes: the Alpe du Grand Serre, Col d'Ornon and Alpe d'Huez. Round it out with the three-loop, mixed surface run, and the Alpe d'Huez triathlon will be one you (and your legs) won't soon forget.
Norseman Xtreme TriathlonEidfjord, Norway 6 of 10
Ready for the ultimate test of endurance? The Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is known for being—you guessed it—extreme. The notoriously cold (and wetsuit-mandatory) swim takes place in the Hardangerfjord and starts off the back of a ferry. If you survive the swim, you'll face the heinous bike and run legs that include a total elevation gain of 17,175 feet. Finish the Norseman Xtreme triathlon, and you'll have bragging rights for life.
IRONMAN 70.3 Hawai'iKohala Coast, Hawai'i 7 of 10
Want to get the vibe of the legendary IRONMAN World Championship course without the hassle of qualifying? IRONMAN 70.3 Hawai'i begins at Hapuna Beach State Park with a swim through tropical waters (keep an eye out for turtles and dolphins), continues with a bike course that includes the Queen Ka'ahumanu and Akoni Pule Highways and finishes with a run through classic resorts, golf courses and the Ala Loa Foot Trail. Pack up the family and make a vacation out of this beautiful destination race—there are plenty of things to do besides swimming, cycling and running.
Challenge RothRoth, Bavaria, Germany 8 of 10
If you're looking for a 140.6 PR, Challenge Roth may just be the course for you. It formerly held the fastest iron-distance record of all time for both men and women (Andreas Raelert, 07:41:33; Chrissie Wellington, 08:18:13) and consistently draws the world's top professional triathletes every year. German triathlon fans come out to support in droves, too—over 200,000 spectators cheer on the athletes from start to finish. The 2018 edition marks the race's 35th anniversary, and the course has been redesigned to include both original and new features.
Noosa TriathlonQueensland, Australia 9 of 10
Part race, part festival, the Noosa Triathlon is Australia's highest profile triathlon event and the largest Olympic-distance triathlon in the world. Why? The ocean swim begins in the clear waters off Noosa Main Beach, the bike features an out-and-back course through the scenic Hinterland and the run winds through Noosa proper. With triathlon being just one small part of this five-day event, everyone in the family will find something to enjoy at one of Australia's most popular vacation destinations.
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