Triathlons are epic simply for the fact that you have to prove what you’re made of — swimming, biking and running your way to the finish line. The following six triathlons take it a few steps further by brutalizing you with longer distances, challenging heights and cold temperatures. They also take “epic” to the next level by rewarding you with breathtaking scenery.
Sending triathletes on a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shoreline, an 18-mile bike ride through the Presidio and an 8-mile trail run through Golden Gate Park, this high-profile athletic event showcases the beauty of San Francisco. This world-renowned triathlon, in which only 2,000 triathletes and relay teams can participate, sells out within hours of the registration opening every year.
Date: June 1
This beast requires participants to swim 1.2 miles, bike 55.7 miles and then run a half marathon, which clocks in at 13.1 miles. The bike-riding portion is no joke: You’ll have to conquer Big Savage Mountain. Starting at 900 feet, riders are immediately presented with the steep and daunting climb through and out of town, culminating in the 31% Westernport Wall. But that's only the beginning. Big Savage Mountain keeps climbing and as the summit nears, the final mile is nearly as savage as the first with the final pinnacle nearing 20% grade and summiting at 2,850 ft. Good luck!
Date: Sept. 13-14
Endure a 1,500-meter swim in the freezing waters of the Hudson River, a 40k (24.7 miles) bike ride along Manhattan's West Side highway and a hilly 10k (6.2 miles) run through Central Park.
Date: Aug. 3
Got what it takes to battle this triathlon? If so, you'll be rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery Oregon has to offer. Simply tackle the 3.1-mile swim, 138.6-mile bike ride and 13-mile run — no biggie.
Date: Sept. 20
One of the most popular races in New England, the Lobsterman triathlon will have you swimming 1.5K (.93 miles) in Casco Bay, which has an average water temperature in September of low- to mid-60s or colder. Then you’ll bike 40K (24.7 miles) along the scenic coastline of Freeport and Brunswick, which includes some climbs. Be ready. Finally you’ll run a 10K (6.2 miles) from Winslow park and through the quaint village of South Freeport. No event in Maine would be complete without a lobster bake. Enjoy one post-race!
Date: Sept. 6
Another scenic behemoth, you'll go for a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene, then bike 112 miles through rural northern Idaho and run a full marathon (26.2 miles) parallel to the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene for two loops, with one steep climb at the southern turnaround point.
Date: June 29
Want to see more? Check out our list of 7 crazy races from around the globe.