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Los Ironman más duros del mundo


The toughest Ironman in the world

Have you ever heard of the triathlon modality called Ironman? If you have never heard this word in the sports context, then we will tell you everything you need to know about one of the most demanding competitions that exist. If, on the other hand, you are already familiar with the subject, in this post we will tell you which are the toughest Ironman in the world:

What are Ironmans?

The Ironman test was born at the end of the 70s, when a member of the United States Marine Corps, John Collins, proposed to combine the swimming, cycling and athletics tests, and to carry them out in a chain with the intention of seeing which of all those who were going to present themselves, was the best athlete; whether swimmers, cyclists or runners. 15 men competed. Today the number of athletes entering an Ironman competition has grown exponentially.

The Ironman is today one of the toughest tests in the world. It shares with the triathlon the three types of sports that are practiced, swimming, cycling and athletics, but modifying the number of kilometers traveled in each one. The triathlon consists of a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike and 10-kilometre run, but the Ironman requires 3.8 kilometer swims, 180 kilometer bike and 42.2 kilometer run, doing it in less than 17! hours!

Normally, the Ironman usually takes about ten hours, and athletes spend between six and nine months preparing for this test. The races usually start around 7 in the morning, and begin with the swimming modality. You swim for almost 4km in open water. The next part of the tour is cycling. You pedal without rest for about 6 hours. The test ends with the athletics part. This part of the route involves about 4 hours of non-stop running.

Due to the hardness of this test, many athletes are not able to face it, since the jump from triathlon to Ironman is very abrupt, which is why the Half Ironman or Ironman 70 was created some time ago.3, a test that is halfway between both tests. Almost 2 kilometers are covered by swimming, 90 kilometers by bicycle and 21 kilometers running.


What effects do they have on the body?

When an Ironman test is finished, the body undergoes an aging process similar to 20 years. This is due to the requirement that this modality requires. The body is faced with dehydration, muscle damage or malnutrition.

During the test, about six thousand calories are burned in total. Glycogen, amino acids and triglycerides are depleted. This level of energy expenditure also implies prior training to learn how to supply the body with the necessary fuel. Otherwise, the athletes will be unable to finish the race.

Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, stomach pain, nausea... are also quite common when you face an Ironman. On the other hand, the heat experienced by the body, and dehydration, are also effects of performing an Ironman, tissue and muscle cells are damaged and broken. During the final stretch of the race, it is when you experience the most fatigue and loss of efficiency. Each step weighs more than the previous one and this is when it is most difficult to move forward.

Recovery after the race is usually about three weeks, during which muscle pain and damage, as well as body inflammation continue to be experienced.

The 10 toughest Ironman in the world


Kona Ironman (Ironman World Championship, Hawaii)

Kona is the Ironman world championship, it is the oldest in the world and is known as the toughest test in the world. The Ironman World Championship was born in Waikiki 43 years ago, and moved to Kona a few years after it was created. In the first competition of this Ironman, 15 people participated, and today between 1,500 and 2,000 athletes do so.

The Japanese triathlete Iromu Inada went down in history in 2018 by breaking the longevity record by completing the test in 16 hours and 53 minutes at the age of 86.

Ironman Lanzarote (Canary Islands)

The first edition of the Lanzarote Ironman took place in 1992 and almost 150 athletes participated. Every year more than 2000 athletes participate, and this one also enters the ranking of the toughest in the world.

The test begins at 7 in the morning at Playa Grande in Puerto del Carmen, where the swimming test is carried out. Next, sections of the island are covered practically from north to south and from east to west. Finally, the final 42 kilometers required by the test are covered.

Timo Bratch broke the record in 8 and a half hours in 2011. A mark that has not yet been exceeded in this Ironman.

Ironman Norseman (Norway)


Another of the most demanding tests in the world of Ironman takes place in Norway; In addition to requiring very tough physical tests, the route is accompanied by extreme weather conditions. This Ironman was born in 2003 and 21 athletes participated. Today the capacity of participants is 300, chosen by draw among the more than 2,000 who requested to participate, and who underwent prior health tests that they had to pass.

The test begins in the waters of the Hardangerfjord, which are less than 15 degrees when the Ironman begins. Athletes jump from a ferry. The pedal stage reaches 1,200 meters above sea level and descends as the route progresses until it reaches 190 meters above sea level. The last test combines a flat initial terrain with the consequent ascent to the Gaustatoppen mountain, which is located at 1880 meters high.

The record was broken in the 2017 event, by Norwegian triathletes Lars Christian Vold, who took 9 hours and 52 minutes to complete the entire course, and Anne Nevin, who made a record of 12 hours and 4 minutes.

Livigno Xtrem Triathlon (Livigno, Italy)

This Italian competition begins at Lake Livigno, and then enters the 195-kilometre demanding cycling stage that runs through the port of Forcola, crosses the border and part of the stage in Switzerland. When athletes set foot on Italian soil again, they must climb the almost 50 curves of Passo Stelvio. The last section on pedals ends in Trepelle Livigno. Here the marathon begins; It consists of 8km descending towards Livigno, which will then be surrounded for 25 kilometers and, finally, 9 kilometers of ascent are covered that will lead to the finish line.


Swissman (Switzerland)

This tour takes place every June in southern Switzerland and stands out because in general the atmosphere and the intention of the athletes who come to perform these tests moves away from the ultra-competitive spirit and focuses more on self-realization and on overcome a tough challenge.

The Ironman starts on the Isle of Brissago, then cycles through five ports to complete the 180 kilometers, starting from Ascona and ending in Brienz. The final test, the marathon, is not far behind in terms of physical demand levels, since the finish line is located at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters.

Embrunman (France)

Embrun is a French city located in the Hautes Alpes, which has been celebrating the Ironman Embrunman for more than 30 years, which is also positioned as one of the most demanding in the world.

The course begins first thing in the morning at Lake Embrun, where athletes must complete two laps around the lake. Once this test is complete, the cycling test begins, demanding and tough, leaving for Puy-Sanières, continuing through Saint-Apollinaire and descending along Savines-le-Lac to head north to Guillestre to Cervières and Briançon , and finally, it descends again until reaching Embrun, where the last test begins; the athletics one, which follows an itinerary around the city in a three-lap tour.


Challenge Madrid

The Ironman in Madrid is a European classic. The beauty of the landscape is equivalent to the hardness of the circuit, which begins in the Sierra de Madrid and ends in the city. The starting signal for the swimming part sounds in the San Juan reservoir, a natural reserve with calm waters. The cycling section begins in San Martín de Valdeiglesias, runs through the western part of the sierra and passes through its most emblematic points.

The stage ends at the Casa de Campo, at which point the last part begins, the athletics part. In the stage on foot, you go through Madrid Río, and there are four turns of an itinerary that runs through emblematic points of the city such as Calle Mayor, La Almudena Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Plaza de España, Paseo de Camoens and the Temple of Debod. The goal is Puerta del Sol, which marks kilometer 0 and is in the most central point of Madrid.

Evergreen Endurance

This tour takes place in Francef, in Chamonix, an area that is very close to the borders where France, Switzerland and Italy meet. It is the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, and also the starting point of an Ironman that could not have better views.

The swimming event begins at Lac de Montriond, near Morzine, Haut Savoie, followed by the cycling stage, in which the athletes face almost 5,000 meters in height and cycle through ports such as the of the Col de Joux Plane, Côte de Morillon Les Esserts, Col de Romme, Col de la Colombière, Col des Aravis and Côte de Vaudagne.

The last section of the route, the athletics section, runs through the Chamonix valley, over areas such as Montenvers, Signal Forbes, Grand Balcon Nord, or Aiguille du Midi and ends in the city of Chamonix, where the local people of this commune alpina welcomes athletes with fury.


Austria eXtreme

The route of this Ironman begins in the Mura river, the main river of the federal state of Styria, and which runs through, in addition to Austria, the countries of Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. The swimming tour consists of doing 1.9 kilometers one way and the same distance back, with the current of the water against it. The cycling stage passes through three very demanding climbs in terms of unevenness, these are Gaberl, then the Schönberg climb, and the one that follows the Sölkpass.

At the Sölk dam, triathletes get off their bikes and start running.

Ultraman Florida

This competition is tougher, although it is difficult to imagine, than the Ironman. The Ultraman tour is divided into three days; During the first day there is competition in the modalities of swimming and a section of cycling, the second is dedicated to the second part of the cycling section and the third is destined for the athletics competition.

The Ultraman of Florida follows a very hard itinerary but very beautiful to observe; During the first day, the swimming part is carried out, in which 10 kilometers are covered in the waters of Lake Minneola, in Clermont. The route has its finish line at Victory Pointe, where the first 145-kilometre bike section begins and ends, in an itinerary that follows a circular structure.

During the second day, another 273-kilometre pedal section is covered, which also begins and ends at Victory Pointe. On the third day, the athletics race is held, which requires a total of almost 85 kilometers of running. The starting point is again Victory Pointe, and the finish line is in Windermere, Florida, a city known for its lakes and the large number of oak trees that decorate the area.


We hope this post has been useful for you to learn more about the great world behind the Ironman, or to encourage you to face one! The personal reward is assured if you manage to finish it, and it is never too late to propose and start a new challenge.