Whether it’s the setting, celebrity or prize purse making these races über-aspirational, this bunch are the most glamorous of the lot…

Triathlon Races - Glamorous TriathlonsAbu Dhabi International Triathlon

Where United Arab Emirates

When 12 March, 2011

Abu Dhabi has diversified beyond its oil rich roots and now boasts successful sectors in real estate, retail and tourism – and even its own Triathlon Team captained by Faris Al-Sultan. Like the ostentatious Palm Islands Resort of Dubai, which is visible from space, the United Arab Emirates sought to make an equally emphatic statement with its inaugural triathlon. By holding the event over a unique distance (3km/200km/20km) and offering a prize purse totalling $230,000 it drew in the world’s media and best long-distance athletes (professional and amateur alike), with $20,000 for the age-group race alone. The glamour of the city reaches beyond the race, where athletes can indulge themselves in spa treatments, trips to traditional bazaars, and tours of historic palaces and forts.

Triathlon Races - Glamorous TriathlonsAlpe D’Huez Triathlon

Where France

When 27-29 July, 2010

The iconic Hors Categorie climb, a centrepiece of the Tour de France, has been won by Fausto Coppi, Lance Armstrong and Carlos Sastre on their way to claiming the yellow jersey in Paris. Since the triathlon’s inception in 2006 it has been a powerful force in distinguishing the best triathletes. In 2007 the women’s race was won by a little-known Chrissie Wellington, and in 2008 she came second – overall. There is a short race (1.2km/30km/7.3km) and a long race (2.2km/115km/21km). The bike legs culminate in the famous 21 hairpin climb, with the long race taking you over two 10-15km long cols before the main ascent. We’ve all dreamt of making the break for victory when doing hill reps. Now you can experience the glamour of riding up Alpe d’Huez yourself, only weeks after the Tour passes through, with the names of your bike heroes still freshly painted on the roads.

Triathlon Races - Glamorous TriathlonsHy-Vee Triathlon

Where West Des Moines, Idaho

When July, 2011 (TBC)

The prize money for winning the Hy-Vee ITU World Cup is a staggering $200,000 – double what the winner of the Ironman World Championship will take home. The biggest prize purse overall in triathlon ($1m) has elicited some of the tightest finishes of recent memory. Hy-Vee is a world championship in everything but name, and brings out performances to match. Few people will not have seen the iconic image of Simon Whitfield taking the 2009 title, with the next four athletes packed only four seconds behind. 2010 saw Tim Don take the title off the back of a sub-29min 10km in Manchester, and a return to form for Emma Snowsill. If you fancy getting up close and personal to the best Olympic-distance athletes in the world, and getting a race in the day before yourself, then head for Hy-Vee.

Triathlon Races - Glamorous TriathlonsLaguna Phuket Triathlon

Where Thailand

When 28 November, 2010

The Laguna Phuket Triathlon markets itself as the Race of Legends. And as 22 world champions, including Cave, Alexander and Lessing have graced the start line in the event’s 15-year history, it is difficult to argue otherwise. To put it another way, if you race in Phuket, you are all but guaranteed to be going head-to-head with a world champion, on a tough, non-drafting course. The race opens with a 1.8km swim in two bodies of water, with a 100m run in-between the two after 1200m. The 55km bike is one for the climbers, with a generously geared cassette recommended, and finally there is a 12km run through the town and along the golf course. Athletes are surrounded by five-star hotels, beautiful beaches and islands, all of which await your indulgence after the race.

Triathlon Races - Glamorous TriathlonsTriStar 111 Monaco

Where Monaco

When 5 September, 2010

Top-end tri bikes boast using Formula 1 wind tunnel technology for optimum aerodynamics, and where better to test whether your engine’s a match for your bike than Monaco, where athletes race on the very same roads as the dominating McLaren-Mercedes of Hamilton and Button. Monaco 111, a new addition to the Star Events portfolio for 2010, has a prestigious reputation from its days as a 70.3 event. The series favours bike strength and is held over a 1km swim, 100km bike and 10km run. The sea swim in the Plage du Larvotto is followed by a gruelling bike leg of long climbs and technical descents in the Roquebrune Cap-Martin. But the real excitement is on the run course. Athletes follow the seafront Formula 1 track through the iconic tunnel, chicanes and hairpin bends of Speluges, finishing up outside the Place du Casino de Monte Carlo.

Triathlon Races - Glamorous TriathlonsNautica Malibu Triathlon

Where California, USA

When 11-12 September, 2010

Triathlon is now seen as so fashionable that even Hollywood wants a piece of the action. We’re not talking about Iron Man the film (which sadly has nothing to do with triathlon), nor are Hollywood greats acting in the role of a triathlete – they are getting dressed up in their finest Lycra and joining you at the water’s edge for the real thing. Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, along with countless others, agree that the place to be seen is at the Malibu Triathlon in California. Malibu should not be dismissed as a mere celebrity get-together: with Greg and Laura Bennett taking the titles in 2009, the quality of the triathletes is as strong as their celebrity counterparts. Races over the weekend include a sprint and Olympic-distance event, with all the action taking place against a beautiful Pacific Coast backdrop.