The threshold of human strength and endurance was never challenged more the beginning of the Triathlon era. Ironman triathletes have shaped the current zeitgeist with their nerves of steel and Greek god-like fitness. Always in search of something new that could stretch their resistance and determination these athletes have created a new lifestyle trend that is inspiring a new generation of fitness freaks. If you’re one of these fitness freaks who aspire to take on these gruelling challenges one day, then check out this list of world’s 5 toughest triathlons that you should be training for.
1. Norseman, Norway
The difficulty of a triathlon is not determined only by its distance but also the environment conditions in which it is covered. In this regard, Norseman is definitely the world’s toughest triathlon. The race begins with a jump off a boat at 5am in the frigid-cold Norwegian waters, followed by 180-kms of cycling with 3800 m of vertical gain, a 42 Km run and ends with a 1432 m steep climb. The race has a cut-off time of 11 hours and only those who complete it in time are awarded the much-coveted finisher t-shirt. There’s no outside support allowed (no water points or bag drop off points) so athletes must carry their own aid in case of any emergency. Talk about being hardcore!
2. Celtman! Extreme Scottish Triathlon
Like Norseman, organiser of the Celtman! Extreme also award their finishers with a blue T-shirt if they finish the race within the 11 hours. But to reach there, triathletes have to swim 3.4 Kms in cold, deep, jellyfish-infested Atlantic water, bike 201 Kms on windy (and scenic) highland roads, run 42 Kms, and ascend 4000 m. Only 471 triathletes have been able to win the blue t-shirt in the five editions the triathlon yet.
3. Bearman, France
Bearman is one of the newest races of the ultra-triathlon circuit. To finish Bearman within the 24 hour cut-off time, athletes are required to bike on a +5000 m climb in the French Pyrenees around Amelie-Las-Bains with extremely low visibility range and then run along a track with 2000m vertical gain. The whole race is not supported (no water points or bag drop off points) and athletes are asked to bring their own body and cycling lights. Although, the mesmerising sight of the mediterranean sea in the backdrop serves as a novel concession.
4. Isramen, Israel
Ever wondered what it feels like to run through a ghostly desert along the world’s worst conflict zones flanked between armed soldiers on either side? Then ask the triathletes taking part in the Isramen triathlon in Israel. The race begins with a bike part of 2000m vertical gain, followed by biking along the the Eilat mountain range for 60 kms against thrashing cold wind. After the bike race is done, athletes have to run down a hill for 10 kms to finish the triathlon.
5. ICON Livigno Xtreme Triathlon, Italy
Italy is known for its beautiful cities and gothic architecture but if you ask triathletes they’d paint you a vivid picture of the Livigno Lake at the country’s border shared with Switzerland. To finish the Livigno Xtreme Triathlon in Italy triathletes begin with a swim in cold waters 1800m below sea level, followed by a 195 km bike course on a mountainous terrain, 42.2 Km run and finally a 3000m vertical ascend.