Daniela Ryf in action during the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Port Ellzabeth, South Africa, on September 1, 2018
© Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool
Fitness Training

10 of the world's most stunning half IRONMAN races

Want to dip your toe into the world of IRONMAN with a 70.3 race, but unsure where to start? Try one of these incredible events.
By Adelaide Goodeve
5 min readPublished on
With a 1.2 mile (1.9km) swim, 56 mile (90km) bike ride and a 13.1 mile (21.1km) run, the IRONMAN 70.3 is surging in popularity right now.
Unlike its big brother, the 140.6, it's less all-consuming and more achievable. Pick the right one and you may even have the chance to race in some sensational settings around the world – so whether you want to bust your guts in Germany, soak up the incredible community feel in South Africa, or take in the unbelievable sights in New Zealand, here's a list of the best 70.3 races around.
Discover the inspirational story of triathlete Tim Don by listening to the below episode of the How to be Superhuman podcast.

1. IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney

Voted by thousands of athletes as the world’s number one IRONMAN 70.3, this race is not to be missed. Take in all Sydney has to offer and more: swim in the iconic Penrith Lakes, cycle and run past winding rivers, and drink in the stunning views across the Blue Mountains – all while feeling your calves turn to jelly. What more could you want in a race? Hugh Jackman? He's probably there, too.

2. IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa, Buffalo City

Want to combine your IRONMAN 70.3 with a spectacular adventure? This race offers a full-on Eastern Cape tourist experience and also some world-class race infrastructure: fully closed national highway, enthusiastic spectator support, miles of stunning beach front, rich cultural history, warm ocean swim, tough cycle and a view of a flat ocean on the final run.

3. IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The rural charm and friendly community of Coeur d’Alene have been attracting triathletes for years. Held in early summer, and a key fixture on the circuit, the race takes you through one of Idaho’s most pristine areas as you whizz by a glacier-fed lake and thriving forest. But make no mistake, the tranquility doesn't extend to the racetrack, which is often packed with the steeliest of racers intent on smashing some personal bests.

4. IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo, New Zealand

How can you go wrong with an IRONMAN 70.3 set amid the film set from the Lord of The Rings trilogy? Answer: you can't. A huge favourite with top triathletes, you'll swim in a breathtaking freshwater lake, cycle through New Zealand’s splendid rural landscape and finish with an equally magnificent run around Hobbit country. Short of a hill climb up Mordor, it's a brutal day's racing.

5. IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, Tennessee

If swimming isn’t your strongest discipline, you’ll love this race. A fast course with dramatic scenery, perfect weather and a downstream swim in the Tennessee River, the cycle and the run give you an ideal opportunity to enjoy Chattanooga’s best tourist sites, including dazzling views of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee Riverwalk and Riverfront Parkway. No wonder it hosted the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2017.

6. IRONMAN 70.3 Maceió, Alagoas Brazil

There’s a reason Maceió is known as the 'Water Paradise'. It's backdropped by a magnificent emerald sea and raved about by many a racer who's been brave enough to take it on. If you're keen to make a step up to IRONMAN, this is an absolutely brilliant place to start. The race kicks off with a one-lap swim at Pajuçara Beach. The two-loop bike course will treat athletes to an amazing landscape, including views of the Atlantic Ocean. The two-loop run across largely forgiving and flat terrain will take you along the water at Pajuçara Beach and onto a hell of a finish.

7. IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau, South-west Germany

Nicknamed as ‘the land of the 1,000 hills’, Kraichgau attracts thousands of triathletes from around the world each year. Aside from the leg-aching nature of the course, the race offers everything you could wish for, from spectacular scenery and a demanding race course to quaint towns packed full of entertainment. Lively crowds will push you on when you feel the burn.

8. IRONMAN 70.3 Vichy, Auvergne, France

This 70.3 is great for a first timer, because it’s a flat course across some exceptional rural French landscape, culminating with a crazy atmosphere at the finish line. Vichy, one of France’s most stunning cities, is also known as the ‘Queen of Spa Towns’ – and trust us, once you've finished you’ll be grateful for the spa access.

9. IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada

Dreaming of an Ironman 70.3 across enchanting landscapes? Look no further than this, a Canadian gem as easy on the eye as Justin Trudeau, but as hard on the limbs as an NHL bodycheck. You'll fall in love with Mont-Tremblant’s ancient mountains, sparkling lakes and chocolate-box ski village, and then you'll fall apart and want to curl up in a ball and sleep by the final leg, which sees you climb into a ski village and race on cobbled roads to the finish.

10. IRONMAN 70.3 Haugesund, Norway

The magnificence of this race is a well kept IRONMAN secret. Unlike other races on the circuit, Haugesund attracts a smaller number of triathletes who, more often than not, are looking to have a terrific day out as much as getting their competitive juices flowing. Nestled within picturesque fjords, wild Viking landscapes and gorgeous mountains, Haugesund is a no-brainer.