What is an Ironman triathlon?


The Ironman triathlon is like no other experience…

The Ironman triathlon isn’t just any normal triathlon. It’s known as the ‘longest day’, the ultimate one-day endurance event and has provided thousands of amateur athletes with their most fulfilling moment in sport.

You are here because you want to know, what is an Ironman triathlon? Well to me it is a lifestyle, a way of living, a disciplined act and a journey that will shape you forever.

On the face of it an Ironman triathlon is:

  • Made up of three disciplines of 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run.
  • Licensed by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC)
That last point is an important one – the WTC licenses the Ironman series whilst other events organisers and brands do not have a license. They cannot be known as an Ironman triathlon – the challenge is no less, the journey no easier but the name may be different. You may hear these races referred to as the iron-distance or long distance and they may be organised by other brands such as the Challenge Family or be independents such as The Outlaw. They all have their pluses and minuses, like anything in life, but they are not ‘Ironman’.
Many people enter the Ironman series because they recognise it – it is a market leading brand name – but also because of the unique way in which pro’s and age groupers can qualify for their world championships in Kona. There are a series of qualifying races around the world that offer qualifying slots in each age-group. These are often competitively fought over by very talented amateurs. You’ll have to be pretty tasty to make it to the big dance every October in Kona, Hawaii. Once there , you’ll be part of triathlon history and certainly find out what an Ironman triathlon is all about.

The moment I found out what an ironman triathlon was

The moment I found out about the Ironman triathlon

The moment I found out about the Ironman triathlon

I remember the moment I found out what an Ironman triathlon was. It changed my life.

At 21 years old I was overweight and unfit – a product of the student lifestyle and a period of unrelated ill-health. The moment I realised that a short walk to the newsagents left me out of breath and that was no way for a 21 year old to be. I changed my lifestyle, trained hard and 3 years later I was transformed and had run 9 marathons.

In 2010 I was looking for a new challenge and came across middle distance racing on TV and fell in love with it. I promptly entered Ironman 70.3 UK. At this stage I had no idea what an Ironman triathlon was – the middle distance seemed long enough! Sure enough, within a few months I discovered long distance racing and entered one of the other branded races, Challenge Henley, in 2011. On the 18th September of that year I completed it in just under 14 hours and it changed me forever – I am a passionate fan of the sport and now write about it from a British and Irish perspective. My new life had started! Here’s what I learnt from the experience…

What is an Ironman triathlon? Here’s what I found!

  • An Ironman triathlon is a sporting event that can change your life
  • It is an event that can teach you that you CAN achieve your dreams
  • An Ironman triathlon shows you that you are physically capable of amazing things
  • An Ironman triathlon will open your eyes to amazing things that are happening around you all the time.

This website is dedicated to British and Irish Ironman triathlons, plus all the branded and non-branded events which now number over 17 for 2013. I hope you enjoy Beyond Going Long.

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