The 5 Greatest Triathlon Events for Outdoor and Adventure Fans

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Three Germans and one Swiss woman have dominated the Ironman Hawaii in recent years. Thus it's no wonder that triathlon has become a trend sport. And it can be more fancy than just swimming, cycling and running - and above all closer to nature. The five perhaps most beautiful multisport events for outdoor enthusiasts at a glance.

Den Areskutan hinab schießen die Radler der Are Extreme Challenge.
The cyclists of the Are Extreme Challenge drive down the Areskutan.

Multisport events with a strong outdoor feeling are great alternatives to the classic triathlons. They're harder or more fancy, or simply more beautiful. Because the disciplines are different. Because the experience of nature is greater. And because they're just fun. So get your calendar and check the dates.

Are Extreme Challenge: Paddling, Running, Cycling

It is the oldest and largest multisport event in Scandinavia: the Are Extreme Challenge in the Swedish winter sports resort of the same name. The best athletes manage the 25 kilometres of kayaking in white water and on a lake, the 17 kilometres of trail running over the 1,420 metre high Areskutan, and the final 30 mountain bike kilometers in less than five hours.

The competition is almost unknown in the world despite its 20-year tradition and the ongoing hype about triathlon and adventure/nature/tough races. Women make up more than a quarter of the 2,000 participants - and the trend is rising.

  • Date: 29 June 2019
  • Location: Are, Sweden
  • Disciplines: 25 km kayaking - 17 km trail running - 30 km mountain biking

Ötillö SwimRun: Swimming and Running

The name says it: The Ötillö SwimRun is about swimming and running. And if you speak Swedish, you can read from the title that it's a race from island to island, because that's what "Ötillö" stands for. That's why people swim with shoes and run in wetsuits, because constantly changing clothes would cost far too much time.

In 2002, a few Swedes challenged each other in the extreme competition from island to island for an evening dinner, four years later it became the Öttilö SwimRun, and gradually a professional race. The participants always complete the course in teams of two. The SwimRun is one of the toughest one-day and adventure races in the world.

Today, there are stations all over the world. In 2019, the Ötillö SwimRun World Series will make a stop in Germany at the idyllic Mecklenburg Lake District, among others. More than ten islands have to be reached by swimming and overcome continuously on wild trails. The unofficial SwimRun World Championship takes place on and between the Archipelago Islands at the gates of the Swedish capital Stockholm.

Coast to Coast: Running, Biking, Kayaking

Participating in the 243 kilometre Kathmandu Coast to Coast is best combined with an extensive holiday, as this extremely tough multisport event takes place at the other end of the world in New Zealand. The goal is to cross the beautiful South Island from the west coast to the east coast - in multiple changes on foot, by bike and with a kayak.

The beautiful and at the same time hard part of the race is the crossing of the New Zealand Alpine ridge - including spectacular views and unforgettable nature experiences. If you want to enjoy these, we recommend to take part in the two-day category. The one-day event is reserved exclusively for very experienced multisport athletes.

  • Date: 7/8 February 2020
  • Location: Kumara Beach/Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Disciplines: 3 km running - 55 km road cycling - 33 km running - 15 km road cycling - 67 km kayaking - 70 km road cycling

Carinthia Iceman Winter Triathlon in the Snow

Small, fine and fancy, but not for cold sensitive athletes: the Iceman Winter Triathlon in Villach, Austria, takes place exclusively on snow. Cross-country running, mountain biking and cross-country skiing - these are the three disciplines that have to be mastered.

Only 100 starters competed in 2019 at the young event organized by the club HSV Triathlon Kärnten. The chances for a place on the podium are therefore relatively good. For the ambitious, there is even a Winter Triathlon World Championship from the International Triathlon Union (ITU), which took place in Asiago, Italy, in 2019.

  • Date: 29 February 2020
  • Location: Villach, Austria
  • Disciplines: 7 km running - 12 km mountain biking - 10 km cross-country skiing

DIY Triathlon: Skiing or Cycling?

It can also be quite different and much more individual, after all. There are no requirements for a multisport event. So why not create your own event and go through it alone or together with friends? There are plenty of examples. The British Charlie Walker and the American Callie Morgigno, for example, took the 8,000 kilometre long Eurasian border from the coast of Russia at the Arctic Circle to Istanbul as their inspiration to travel by ski, kayak and bicycle.

If you don't have eight months time or the experience and fitness for such an adventure, you can also start at your own door - just like the German outdoor blogger Markus Schaumlöffel: His goal was to reach the Zugspitze non-stop from his hometown of Augsburg by mountain bike, hiking and finally climbing. A little more than 14 hours later and with 3,200 meters of altitude in his legs he stood on Germany's highest mountain peak.