From iconic cityscapes to tropical islands, here is our pick of the best river and lake triathlons around.

Competitors enjoying being pushed downstream at the Bradford on Avon triathlon. (Photo credit:


Where: Roth, Germany
When: 14 July, 2013
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One-hour’s drive from Munich, the world’s largest long-course triathlon takes place on 14 July in the hamlet of Roth. This event always attracts big names, all hoping to get a slice of the famously fast times on offer here. The straight, narrow and well-supported swim in Donau canal (OK, not strictly a river/ lake, but close!) gets you off to a good start. The two-lap bike course winds through Franconian villages, but beware the steep climbs at Sonar Hill and Kalvarienberg. The run is tough 42km but with over 150 000 spectators lining the route, you won’t be short of some boisterous encouragement to help you along your way.


Where: Chester, UK
When: 2 June, 2013
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The city of Chester is the setting for this club-run tri. Starting at a picturesque bandstand on The Groves (a riverside promenade) you’ll swim 700m upstream before turning back for an 800m swim, passing under the Queen’s Park suspension bridge twice. Temperatures are a cool 14-16C, making this a wetsuit-compulsory event. It’s not the toughest course ever, so it’s a good one for the less experienced. The flat and fast bike course leaves Chester through the scenic village of Eccleston, entering Wales on quiet rural roads before returning via Rossett. The run passes through Grosvenor Park, where a tricky but short hill awaits you, before heading over the suspension bridge.


Where: Bradford-on-Avon, UK
When: 19 May, 2013
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The Bradford-On-Avon triathlon is a cracking event that has gained a reputation as a tough early season test that begins in the chilly waters of the River Avon. An out-and-back swim, racers begin with the downstream portion, helping to swell their confidence before turning back against a current that asks a lot of the arms pre-bike. Out of the river to the transition area at Barton Farm Country Park and it’s on to a hilly bike course that serves as excellent prep for longer British races such as 70.3 UK and Ironman UK later in the season. Rollercoaster bike ride over with, it’s back along the river then onto the canal side for a fast, flat run with PB potential for those who still have the legs following the bike.


Where: Embrun, Haute-Alpes, France
When: 14 August, 2013
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This is a monster of an event that never fails to separate the Ironmen from the boys. Following a boat with a flashing light in the early morning, this grueling race begins with a 3.8km lake swim. As you emerge from the water, sunrays usually illuminate the mountaintops, making the thought of cycling 188km through the brutally hilly Alps a little more bearable. The final 42km hilly run ensures every last drop of energy is sapped from your legs.


Where: Buttermere Lake, Cumbria, UK
When: 14 September 2013
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Set in the stunning Lake District, amidst a backdrop of Lakeland fells and cascading waterfalls, Buttermere is arguably one of the most iconic settings in the Lake District. The 1500m swim takes place in the crystal clear waters of the Lake and is a classic start to the race. The bike course is a real leg-burner and energy-sapper that takes competitors up the notoriously steep Honister Pass. Luckily, the 13km trail run is pretty flat with unparalleled views for its duration. is the online home of Triathlon Plus – the best source of triathlon training advice, triathlon gear reviews and triathlon news.

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