Ironman New Zealand: One of the World’s Best Iron-Distance Races

To state that Ironman New Zealand is one of the best iron-distance races in the world could very well be an understatement.  Consider the awards it got last year in the 2016 Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards, results of which came from the annual survey from the participants themselves:

  • No. 1 in Overall Satisfaction
  • Tied for 6th in Overall Swim
  • Tied for 6th in Overall Bike
  • 4th in Overall Run
  • 6th in Best Host City Experience
  • No. 1 in Best Post-Race Celebration
  • 6th in Will Attend Next Year
  • 9th in Will Recommend to a Friend

The accolades are nothing new to the organizers and the more-than 2,000 volunteers that make the race one of the most iconic in the whole Ironman circuit.   In 2018, it will be the 34th straight year it will be held.  What makes it a truly international race, half of the field are foreigners, truly stating its case as one of the bucket-list Ironman race for every triathlete.  The locals also make it absolutely sure every participant will feel the hospitality of the pure Kiwi spirit has to offer.

“This race is simply epic—a classic, time-honored IRONMAN tradition.”

It got the award for Best in Satisfaction, but much of the overall experience can be attributed to the fact that Taupo in New Zealand is a collection of  spectacular scenery after another.  The swim course in Lake Taupo, one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes, is one of the best in the circuit.  “The swim was magnificent. The lake is absolutely stunning and I would do it over again in a second.” a comment from one finisher.

3.8km (2.4 mile) swim in the clean, clear, fresh waters of Lake Taupo. Water temperature is normally around 19 degrees Celsius (approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit). A deep water start in front of the Taupo Yacht Club with the first leg of 1775m parallel to the shore followed by a second leg of 70m then returning 1745m to a buoy adjacent to the Yacht Club. The final section of 210m takes the swimmers to the swim exist adjacent to the Taupo Yacht Club. From the Yacht Club car park athletes have a 400m run along the Boat Harbour to the steps leading to transition.

The two-lap 180km bike course has been described as undulating, so like any other area in New Zealand, safe to say it will not be flat.  Hills will make it challenging but fair.  Despite the description that doesn’t scream fast, surprisingly if the weather cooperates, it is one of the fastest course along with Arizona and Florida.   Be prepared to see spectacular scenery while on your bike, to the farmlands and the natural forest surrounding Taupo.

See also:  Phillips Plows Through Field in Run Leg for Breakthrough Victory in Ironman New Zealand

The 3-lap marathon run course will take you to an incredible and breathtaking Kiwi scenery and at the same time challenging you with hills.  With that though, you cannot escape the thousands of locals who are on hand to give every athlete an encouraging cheer.  The spectators will stuck with every participant on the course, even ones who will finish near midnight.

The temperature in Lake Taupo remains fairly chilly all year round. The temperature of the lake usually hovers around 19 degrees, so a wetsuit is typical in every races. Also prepare arm warmers or even insulation as the the early parts of the bike should be chilly before the sun comes hovering overhead.

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