What Is the Total Distance of an Ironman Triathlon?

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The Ironman Triathlon is the most well-known endurance event in the world. Ironman Triathlon events occur throughout the United States as well as all around the world, with the winning athletes moving on to participate in the Ford Ironman World Championship held every October in Kona, Hawaii. In 2006, the Ironman organization incorporated a new triathlon event called the Ironman 70.3.

Ironman Series

Whether you participate in the Ironman Triathlon in Port Elizabeth, Africa or Louisville, Kentucky the general format of the triathlon still remains the same. The triathlon competition is made up of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run which needs to be completed in 17 hours for you to be considered a finisher. Most Ironman triathlon competitions have an event time limit, usually starting around 7 a.m. and ending around midnight. In order to qualify for the Ironman World Championship, you have to earn a spot in one of the qualifying Ironman Triathlon events, or be chosen by a lottery or winning a spot through the Ironman charitable eBay auction. The world championship is held every October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Ironman 70.3

In 2006, the Ironman organization developed the Ironman 70.3 triathlon event. This triathlon competition is made up of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. It may also be considered a half-triathlon as it is exactly half the distance of each event of the Ironman Series. Ironman 70.3 triathlon events can be found around the United States as well as around the world. The Ironman organization gathers the winners of each Ironman 70.3 triathlon event and pits them against each other in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship held in Clearwater in November.


There are no limitations to who can register. If you are interested in participating in an Ironman triathlon, visit the website of the Ironman organization and select which event you would like to attend, whether the Ironman Series or Ironman 70.3. Click on the official website of the race located closest to you. There you will find more information about the event and a better idea of the course as well as event registration and travel information.


The Ironman is a true test of endurance and stamina and not a great time or place to test yours out for the first time. In order to prepare for an Ironman triathlon, try out a couple of half-marathons and other full marathons first. Expect to commit 20 weeks to training prior to the event, five to six days a week regardless of the weather. This will help you prepare for unfavorable conditions the day of the event, should it occur. Start with a one hour workout, working your way up to three hours of training a day. Focus on your swimming techniques, running stride and flexibility in your back and legs. Incorporate long runs and bike rides over various types of terrain.