Ironman Triathlon Triathlete Running Swimming

What is an Ironman Triathlon? How is it different from any other triathlon? We look into the massively popular endurance sport.

Triathlon Organisations

Ironman is a trademarked brand and is a specific family of triathlon events that take place all over the globe. Many people mistake the term Ironman for a specific triathlon distance, but not all full distance triathlons are Ironman events.

There are several different triathlon organisations across the globe. British Triathlon is the main governing body in the UK and oversees triathlon races from local to world qualifying races.  ITU Triathlon is the International Triathlon Union and is the international governing body for many different multi-sport events from triathlon and duathlons to aquathlons and other non-standard multi-sport variations.

On the other hand, Ironman is a privately owned brand and only incorporates the standard swim-bike-run triathlon in two distances: the full Ironman and the half Ironman (also known as the 70.3). A triathlon of this distance that isn't organised by the Ironman brand is known as a middle distance triathlon.

Finally, the other main family of triathlon organisers is the Challenge Family whose biggest race is Challenge Roth in Germany. This is also a full distance triathlon, but as it is not organised by Ironman, it would not be called an Ironman triathlon. 

Triathlon Distances

Super Sprint 

400m swim - 10km bike - 2.5km run

Sprint

750m swim - 20km bike - 5km run

Standard Distance (also known as Olympic Distance)

1500m swim - 40km bike - 10km run

Middle Distance (also known as Half Ironman, also known as 70.3)

2.5km swim - 80km bike - half marathon run

Full Distance (also known as Full Ironman, also known as 140.6)

3.8km swim - 180km bike - full marathon run

Ironman 70.3

Half Ironman events are a great way to get into the sport without making such a huge step up from standard distance triathlons. This is probably the most common event for novices and amateur athletes to enter, and can still count towards points for the Full Ironman World Championships. There are many big 70.3 races across the globe.

Ironman Lanzarote

This 70.3 race is always very popular with British athletes as it is in a convenient location and provides stunning backdrops and great weather for racing. Several Sundried ambassadors have competed in Lanzarote and it also provides a training camp for amateur athletes who want to improve in the sport.

Triathlon Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 Half Iron

Ironman Wales

A new race has recently begun in Tenby, Wales and offers a few different distance options. There is the Tenby Long Course weekend in which athletes complete the full Iron distance but over three days, completing the swim on the first day, the bike on the second, and the marathon on the third. This is a great way to break down the tough sport and give more athletes a chance of completing the full event before tackling all three disciplines on the same day.

Ironman Weymouth

Ironman Weymouth is one of the most popular 70.3 locations in the UK as it is easily accessible and is a great way to transition from shorter triathlons into the bigger ones. 

 

Full Ironman Events

Ironman Bolton

This is the location of Ironman UK, the biggest Ironman event in the country and the main British qualifier for the Ironman World Championships.

Ironman Kona (Hawaii)

The Ironman World Championships are held annually in Kona, Hawaii. This is the biggest Ironman event in the world and is the ultimate goal of many triathletes. Chrissie Wellington is an English triathlete who has won the Ironman World Championships four times and is therefore one of the most prominent names in the world of multi-sport.