Sandy toes and splashing through waves – we whet your appetite with the best seaside triathlons. Ice creams at the ready!

Triathlon Races - Seaside TriathlonsPerranporth Surf Challenge Tri

Where Cornwall, UK

When 12 September, 2010

Not for the faint-hearted, this 23-year-old Cornish tri has been voted one of the UK’s toughest. What makes it unique is the spectacular surf sea swim. The length of the swim depends on the size of the surf – be warned, the water’s choppy and experience of open-water swimming is advised. Spectators have fantastic views from the cliffs, and can access transition areas, where refreshments are provided. The two-lap on-road bike course takes in major and country roads, with strenuous hilly terrain. And if that doesn’t get you reaching for the Gatorade, the run is over sandy beaches and through beautiful, but rugged, cliffs. Sounds tough, but people return year after year to prove themselves.

Triathlon Races - Seaside TriathlonsCastles Challenge Triathlon

Where Northumberland, UK

When 6 June, 2010

You’ll navigate three of Northumberland’s historic castles during this inspirational Olympic-distance event, now in its second year. This quirky race (there’s rumours you’ll be led into the water by a Northumbria Piper!) boasts the dramatic backdrop Bamburgh Castle for the two-lap sea swim. A short run to the transition area past the beach and dunes on Castle Green brings you to the open- road coastal bike leg from Bamburgh via Dunstanburgh Castle to Alnwick Castle, marked by a strong headwind that made triathletes joke it ‘felt more like 42 miles than 42km’. You’ll finish like a king with a run through Alnwick Castle grounds.

Triathlon Races - Seaside TriathlonsIronman Western Australia

Where Busselton, Western Australia

When 5 December, 2010

Postcards don’t come much dreamier than this: you’re standing by the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, which stretches over 2km into the azure waters of Geographe Bay. And yes, it is part of your IM race – you lucky thing! Set in the coastal town of Busselton on the Western Australian coast, two-and-a-half hours south of Perth, the IM Western Australia race is known for being flat and fast – but the summer heat and humidity will up the ante for even the most experienced Ironman. Wetsuits are likely to be optional during the one-lap swim, which takes place off Busselton Jetty. The bike course is flat and fast. The scenic run is set along the Busselton foreshore meaning you’ll benefit from inspiring views throughout the race.

Triathlon Races - Seaside TriathlonsNautica Malibu Triathlon

Where Malibu, USA

When 11&12 September, 2010

As a rule, we’re not fans of out-and-back races but we’ll make an exception for the Malibu International Triathlon because the views are so great it’s a bonus to see them twice! You might even spot a celeb or two: J Lo and Cindy Crawford have both competed. The rectangular Pacific Ocean swim course runs for the most part parallel to Zuma beach and the waves can be a challenge. The out-and-back bike leg winds along the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway, with some of the best mountain views in Malibu, while the out-and-back run course is set on pavement and blacktop along the dunes of Zuma beach.

Triathlon Races - Seaside TriathlonsIronman France

Where Nice, France

When 27 June, 2010

The cheers of spectators will be ringing in your ears as you run into the warm waters of the Med and begin the two-loop swim course for Ironman France, in its sixth year this year. Water temperatures of 24?C mean a wetsuit is optional and the six starting sectors afford you a stress-free and uncrowded start on Plage du Centenaire, one of Nice’s most popular beaches. See the French Riviera through new eyes on the bike leg, which starts and ends in Nice. You’ll pedal through 13 rustic French towns and villages, including the most beautiful village in France – Gordon. The first 10km is flat but the second part, from Pont du Loup, is also the steepest, with a tough 900m climb. Recover on the last section – almost entirely downhill and really fast. The flat run is made up of four loops along the seafront.