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

Alpe d'Huez Triathlon

The Alpe d’Huez Triathlon is one of the most incredible races on the planet


Where: West Des Moines, Idaho
When: 1 September, 2013
More Info: www.hy-veetriathlon.com

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. 2012 saw London Olympic Silver medalist Lisa Norden of Sweden and Javier Gomez of Spain race to victory. 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.


Where: France
When: 24 July, 2013
More Info: www.alpetriathlon.com

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, and past competitors include Chrissie Wellington, Tim Don and Nicola Spirig. There is a short race (1.2km/30km/7.3km) and a long race (2.2km/115km/21km). The bike leg is brutal and you take on two other mountain passes before you even get to Alpe d’Huez. Pretty challenging. The good news is that the swim isn’t hilly and the run goes around the top of the mountain – it’s not flat, but you descend as much as you climb, which is probably just as well. 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.


Where: Phuket, Thailand
When: 24 November, 2013
More Info: www.lagunaphukettriathlon.com

The Laguna Phuket Triathlon markets itself as the Race of Legends. And since 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 are awaiting your indulgence after the race.


Where: United Arab Emirates
When: March, 2014
More Info: www.abudhabitriathlon.com 

The Abu-Dhabi triathlon has once-in-a lifetime stamped all over it. White, sandy beaches, clear water, a traffic-free highway, superb race support and a trip around the Yas Marina Formula One circuit all combine to make racing in Abu Dhabi a must for any triathlete wanting the pro-triathlete treatment. With an ever-growing roster of top athletes competing for the huge prize money on offer, it’s become a veritable who’s who of the triathlon world with a world-championship atmosphere all of its own.


Where: California, America
When: 7-8 September, 2013
More Info: www.nauticamalibutri.com

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 though since 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.

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