Guide to Intense Ironman Triathlons

Athletes travel the world to swim, bike and run in the biggest Ironman triathlons around the world, including Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI. Get the scoop on a few Ironman race courses.

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Run for Your Lives, Nationwide
Run for Your Lives, Nationwide

Run for Your Lives, Nationwide

See if you can escape zombies in the annual Run For Your Lives 5K obstacle race. This is one race where a muscle cramp may spell the start of even bigger problems -- like being caught by brain-eating zombies! 960 1280

HGL  

Marathon du Medoc, France

Marathon du Medoc, France

France's Bordeaux region shows off its national character in the annual Marathon du Medoc, with participants drinking wine (and yes, running, too) through some of the world's greatest vineyards. 960 1280

laufmaschine, flickr  

Runaway Bridesmaids, NYC

Runaway Bridesmaids, NYC

Travel Channel's Lost Girls prove that you really can wear that bridesmaid dress again (and for a good cause!). The Lost Girls take on a new name for the day as The Runaway Bridesmaids to run the Fifth Avenue Mile in NYC -- in dresses -- to raise money to fight sex trafficking worldwide. 960 1280

Ed Haas  

High Heel Race, Washington, DC

High Heel Race, Washington, DC

Halloween in the nation’s capital is a spirited affair, courtesy of the annual High Heel Race. Onlookers gather in Dupont Circle to watch drag queens show off their extravagant outfits and race down 17th Street in high heels. 960 1280

Scubaben, flickr  

Muddy Buddy, Nationwide

Muddy Buddy, Nationwide

Teams of 2 run together through an off-road obstacle course, complete with military-style challenges. At the end of the race, each duo crawls through a mud pit before crossing the finish line together as official “Muddy Buddies”! 960 1280

numberstumper through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Pattaya International Bed Race, Thailand

Pattaya International Bed Race, Thailand

There’s no time to rest for participants in the Pattaya International Bed Race. Runners pushing hospital beds, boat beds and even a bed designed as a bathtub race down a popular strip of this beach town in Thailand. 960 1280

Reuters  

Bride-Carrying Race, China

Bride-Carrying Race, China

Grooms carry their brides during a mini-marathon celebrating the New Year in Sanya, in south China's Hainan province. 960 1280

Reuters  

Red Bull Soapbox Derby, Budapest

Red Bull Soapbox Derby, Budapest

Participants of Red Bull Soapbox Derby compete on a 656-yard track in Budapest, Hungary. Racing against the clock, they speed to the finish line in handmade vehicles. 960 1280

Reuters  

Empire State Building Run-Up, NYC

Empire State Building Run-Up, NYC

At the Empire State Building Run-Up, runners climb 86 floors, 1,576 steps and roughly 1/5 mile, on their way to the observation deck. No elevators for these die-hard runners! 960 1280

Reuters  

Great Knutsford Race, England

Great Knutsford Race, England

You’ll have to wait until 2020 for the next Great Knutsford Race, a 3-hour competition on penny-farthing bicycles that’s held once a decade. Competitors come from all over the world to race on these 1880s-era high-wheelers in Knutsford, England. 960 1280

Reuters  

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Marius Hansen  

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Denis Doyle  

Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Playa Grande, Costa Rica

The beach town of Playa Grande is known as one of Costa Rica's best surfing spots. It also happens to be home to the second largest nesting ground of the largest marine reptile, the Leatherback Turtle. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Host to the annual Billabong Pro ASP World Tour surfing competition, the town of Jeffreys Bay was made famous by the surf cult classic, <i>Endless Summer</i>. Its surf break is considered one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world due to its consistency and quality. 960 1280

Johanna Nel / iStock / Getty Images  

Ulu Watu, Bali

Ulu Watu, Bali

Famous for being home to the oldest Hindu temple in Bali, Ulu Watu is also known for its professional-grade waves. The Ulu Watu temple sits atop an enormous cliff, overlooking the breaking waves and talented surfers below. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach, CA

If you're looking for a surf destination, you can't go wrong with Surf City, USA. With 4 different-facing beaches, there’s a break for everyone -- longboarders should head to the northwest beaches, while shortboards are best in the south, by Huntington Beach Pier. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

One of Australia’s most famous beaches is also a top destination for surfers. The white sands of Bondi Beach not only provide top-notch surf, but also plenty of restaurants and shops for when the waves have you worn out. 960 1280

Jessica Rabbit, flickr  

San Clemente, CA

San Clemente, CA

With Surfing Magazine, The Surfer's Journal and Longboard Magazine based here and Surfer Magazine not too far off, San Clemente is undoubtedly known for its waves as well as its surf coverage. It’s also home to Lower Trestles, a favorite break among surfers which has been threatened by the state’s attempt to build a toll road, but has been defended repeatedly by numerous surf organizations. 960 1280

Patrick Pelster, flickr  

Taghazout, Morocco

Taghazout, Morocco

Taghazout, a fishing village in the southwest of Morocco, is generally not crowded – a key feature when searching for the perfect surf destination. With waves for advanced surfers from September-April and smaller waves throughout the rest of the year, this small town has something for everyone.  960 1280

Cultura Travel / Tim E White / Photolibrary / Getty Images  

Teahupo'o, Tahiti

Teahupo'o, Tahiti

Known for its glassy waves, Teahupo'o is part of the World Championship Tour of the Association of Surfing Professionals circuit. Its shallow coral reef is responsible for the shape of this legendary break, making it extremely heavy and hollow – perfect for getting barreled, but best left to the pros. 960 1280

Stephanie Milani, flickr  

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

On the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, the relaxed village of Arugam Bay is known for its steady waves during the peak season of May-November. With its laid-back vibe and wide variety of restaurants, Arugum Bay is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the water. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Tavarua Island, Fiji

Tavarua Island, Fiji

This heart-shaped island in Fiji is home to one of the most famous breaks in the surfing world – Cloudbreak. Located a mile off the island, this wave is restricted to those who check in at the Tavarua Surf Resort and has been known to get so large that only tow-in surfing is possible. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Bundoran, Ireland

Bundoran, Ireland

Known as a surfer’s "cold water Eden," the shores of Bundoran on the southwestern tip of Donegal provide nearly constant swells. The town embraces the culture with extra accommodations for surfers -- even offering discounts to surfers who visit during the peak season of September-May. Just be sure to pack your wetsuit! 960 1280

Getty Images  

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

This world-class resort town is actually a top surfing destination, as well. Even before the vacationers started coming to sunbathe, locals would ride the consistent swells on wooden planks and palm fronds. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

The quiet Mexican town of Puerto Escondido is home to surfers, families and Zicatela Beach. This beach was nicknamed "Mexican Pipeline" due to its similarity to the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

The waves are known to get rather large on this beautiful crescent-shaped bay. Known to reach 20 feet, the biggest waves occur in the center of the bay and are called "pinetrees" by the locals.   960 1280

Matthew Micah Wright / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images