The world’s most scenic triathlons

As the Challenge Triple Crown race series gets underway in the United Arab Emirates, we take a look at the world’s most notable triathlon challenges

Challenge Triple Crown, UAE

With $1 million up for grabs if a professional athlete manages to win all three rounds, international competition has been fierce and extensive, with top athletes from several nations eager to prove their prominence as a triple threat. Challenge Dubai begins with a 1.9km swim which sets off from Jumeirah Beach, while the cycling leg of the race weaves through Jumeirah’s streets before a run along the 21.1km run along the coast. The Dubai course makes the most of scenic ocean views and the refreshing sea breeze, using both the urban and natural aspects of Dubai in the course. The Bahrain portion of the event will involve a swim in Bahrain Bay, a particular highlight of the course, while part of the Oman leg of the race utilises its challenging but picturesque desert.

In a word: extensive

Helvellyn Triathlon, UK

Known for its challenging peaks and untouched countryside, the Lake District is also home to the Hevellyn Triathlon, which uses one of the area’s most demanding fells to test its participants in the running stage of the event. The 1.6km swim around the second largest lake in the district, the idyllic Ullswater lake, is the only flat part of the course, and is surrounded by plush foliage, with calm reflective waters. This tranquil start will be followed by a jagged 59km cycling route, with stunning scenery but sharp contours, across the area’s toughest peaks, ending with the brutal run to the summit of Helvellyn, the UK’s third highest peak.

In a word: ruthless

the Hevellyn Triathlon
The Hevellyn Triathlon offers competitors the chance to see the best of the Lake DistrictImage: Roy Gladwin

Goa Triathlon, India

Describing itself as an Olympic-length triathlon, there are no short-cuts in this challenging course. The cycling and running portions include stiff gradients and the swimming is done in a lively sea, not a lake. With the option of participating with a team, athletes are encouraged to only do the entire race themselves if they are made of steel. Beginning from Bambolim Beach near Panaji and continuing on to a cycling course consisting of four laps of a 10km circuit through Dona Paula, Miramar and back through Dona Paula, the course is an opportunity to see this beautiful part of India. The running portion is a 10km dash through the cycling circuit, before ending grandly on the beach where it began.

In a word: authentic

Beijing International Triathlon, China

The Beijing International Triathlon takes place in the beautiful Fengtai District of Beijing. The Olympic-length triathlon starts with a swim around Garden Expo Lake from a floating dock, the bike ride will then loop around the scenic Fengtai District, starting with a slow journey along the wide city boulevard before ascending onto a paved mountain road for the first climb of the course. On reaching 20km, cyclists will begin a steep climb to the base of Qian Ling Mountain, passing ancient temples in the mountainside. Having reached the base of the mountain, athletes will ride along the wide boulevards of Fengtai and through the quaint villages before returning to Garden Expo Park, where they will begin the running portion of the event. The course will lead the racers along stone paths and through picturesque gardens in its final stretch.

In a word: historic