escape from Alcatraz Anthony S Casey SingaporeAny triathlon is pretty epic in itself. Through combining swimming, running, and cycling, only the fittest will finish. But what makes some races more “epic” than others? Through intensity and location, these five triathlons will challenge any expert triathlete.

  1. New York City Triathlon

This famous race attracts triathletes from around the world. In this iconic Olympic-distance race, there is 1500m swim, a 40K cycle ride, and a 10k run. First, competitors brave the waters of the chilly early morning Hudson, then bike along Manhattan’s West Side highway, and end with a run in the famous Central Park. It’s held annually in the middle of the summer.

2. Idaho Ironman

Are you an Ironman? The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is a serious physical test, despite its bucolic settings. In the epic Ironman race, triathletes start off with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene, followed with a 112 mile bike race through rural northern Idaho, finishing with a full marathon along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene for two steep loops.  Every August.

3. Kona Ironman

Now this is the Ironman of Ironmans. Kona is every triathlete’s dream, achilles heel, etc. It’s what everyone dreams about. It’s the epitome of triathlon racing. Steve Anderson won last year’s Kona race. He speaks about the physical stress of racing, “Whatever you have is left completely rinsed from your being – both physically and mentally – after you cross the line.” An athlete burns so many calories while competing, that you have to eat throughout the race; Anderson eats Cliff Bars.

4. New Zealand Ironman

This race is popular due to its rich scenery and fresh swimming water. It is also the second-longest running Ironman, having celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2014. It’s a beautiful race.  The 2.4-mile swim takes place in the clear waters of Lake Taupo.  After a 400-meter run to transition, athletes begin the two-lap, 112-mile bike that travels through the forest and farmland surrounding Taupo. Spectators lining the lakefront as bikers make their way around. The three-lap marathon has great views of the lake and friends and family cheer on the athletes.

5. Escape from Alcatraz

Who knew that one day we’d be swimming laps around a prison, for leisure? Swimming in the freezing San Francisco Bay has become almost a right of passage for triathlon competitors. Since 1981, it’s no wonder this race is popular. With a fabulous vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge, the brutally difficult Sand Ladder; this race is popular because finishing comes with bragging rights.

This iconic race starts off at the San Francisco Belle ferry near Alcatraz Island to swim 1.5 miles back to shore, often in choppy and chilly conditions. At Marina Green Beach, athletes transition for an 18-mile bike ride around hilly San Francisco, before finishing with an 8-mile run through the Golden Gate Park and climbing 400 steps up the the Equinox Sand Ladder.