We asked our athlete ambassadors which races they think are the best in the world – from marathons to Ironman races, our list could help you find your next race!
Voted for by: professional triathlete Pablo Marcos
Next race: 23rd May 2020
Location: Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Europe
Out of all the races I’ve done, very few can compare to the “European Big Island”. This triathlon is the most similar to what Kona may be: an entire island that lives for the race and in which everything stops for that week. The atmosphere is something I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
In terms of course and race conditions, you can have a day with strong currents and choppy water, and with a mass start it's really challenging even for experienced swimmers. To put it into context, I was going for a 51-52 minute swim and ended up doing 58 despite starting at the front and avoiding the chaos with people.
The bike course is one of the most stunning I’ve seen. It's true that either you love it or you hate it though! There are constant climbs with the famous winds that seem to always be against you no matter which direction you are heading and those climbs towards Mirador...
When it comes to the run, if an Ironman marathon is hard anyway, Lanzarote takes it to another level. It's hot, windy, and constantly going up and down on a road by the sea that seems to never give you a break. Not to mention the fact of running through all the bars and restaurants with terraces full of people eating and drinking. Celebrating that they are with the cold beers you’d love to down by that time of the day.
With all that said, I absolutely love the battle with the island! I’m going back next year even though I promised myself I'd never do the same Ironman twice, simply because I love it so much.
Marathon Du Médoc
Voted for by: personal trainer Vikki Roberts-Caiger
Next race: September 2020
Location: Médoc (near Bordeaux), Gironde, France
If you like wine and French delicacies, this is the race for you. There is wine-tasting, oyster-tasting, steak, music, dancing, and partying all along the course.
The Marathon Du Médoc follows a beautiful course through the French countryside and vineyards near Bordeaux with wine and snacks all along the route. Everyone wears fancy dress for that year's theme and it’s got a wonderful friendly party atmosphere.
I made some great friends during the race 4 years ago that I’m still in touch with. Lots of people aim not to cross the finish line before the six hour cut-off in order to get the most from their entry fee. All finishers get a bottle of wine and the ladies get a rose.
The Great North Run
Voted for by: triathlete Calum Johnson
Next race: September 2020
Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Being from Newcastle, the GNR has a special place in my heart and a lot of other hearts too. I’ve watched it every year since I was a child as it goes along roads I live close to.
I’ve seen the event progress year on year to become the biggest half marathon in the world. Everyone who has run it will tell you how special the atmosphere is and how friendly everyone is. Everybody supports everybody. So many people run for many incredible causes and charities. Each person has a unique story as to why they are running and it’s brilliant to listen to everyone tell their story!
It’s also a unique course starting and finishing at different points which makes it a bit different to a lot of road races.
Challenge Peguera Mallorca
Voted for by: triathlete Harrison Rolls-King
Next race: 19th October 2019
Location: Peguera, Mallorca, Balearic Islands
Challenge Peguera Mallorca was my first 70.3 last year. It's the Challenge Europe season finale in a fantastic location with a great beach, clean and clear sea water, stunning and challenging bike course and the run is lined with bars and restaurants the whole way and all are packed with locals and spectators!
The buzz you get hitting the run course is amazing. The finish/lap zone has massive stands packed with people, super loud live DJ (my body could feel the vibrations of the sound from the stands and the DJ at the end of every run lap and finish!) and of course the famous red carpet!
After the race there’s a great recovery zone with buffet, benches, massages, bag drop, and so many helpful volunteers. I couldn’t recommend a better place to finish the season!
Voted for by: triathlete Marc Went
Next race: 5th July 2020
Location: Roth, Bavaria, Germany
For me it's got to be Challenge Roth in Germany (formerly Ironman Germany). The crowds are huge as some 260,000 spectators line the streets. There are 30,000 at the swim start and over 7,000 volunteers make it a very special day.
The world famous 'Solar Hill' sees thousands of spectators ten-deep line the road and part in the last seconds to create a Tour de France style single-file route up the hill as well as the final run into the stadium for the finish line where you're greeted by 10,000 spectators, which is truly amazing.
All of this is topped off by an event-ending firework display which, for me, makes Challenge Roth my race of choice and I can see why so many pro triathletes have this on their bucket list.
If you're tempted, the only downside is that it's so popular the general entry sells out in less than 60 seconds, so you've got to be quick!