The Ford Ironman World Championship is the Super Bowl of Hawaii triathlons. // © 2014 Bob Fewell/BIVB, HTA/Kirk Lee Aeder
Hawaii triathlons provide a great excuse for fitness fans to plan a trip to the islands.
Combining a swim, a bike ride and a run, triathlons are a perfect fit for Hawaii, with its year-round warm weather, swimmable oceans and miles of scenic biking and running routes. Each year thousands of athletes gather in Hawaii to heed the call of the fast-growing fad.
Hawaii has race courses of different lengths and degrees of difficulty for competitors of all abilities. Whether you're a serious contender or merely looking for a fun and healthy vacation activity, completing a triathlon can turn into a lifelong Hawaii memory.
Following is a chronological list of five popular triathlons held annually in the Aloha State.
Haleiwa Triathlon (March)
This race lets you explore Oahu's north shore in three ways. It starts with a 400-meter swim in the calm waters inside Puaena Point, followed by a 12-mile bike ride around Haleiwa town. The action wraps up with a three-mile run, half of which takes place in soft sand. Afterward, you can wear your finisher's T-shirt with pride.
Honolulu Triathlon (May)
Young and old alike are invited to take part in this event. The toughest race, an Olympic course, consists of a 1.5-mile swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run ending at Ala Moana Beach Park. Shortened courses include a triathlon for ages 7-10, a junior triathlon for ages 16-19 and a sprint triathlon measuring half of the Olympic course.
Hilo Triathlon (July)
Participants enjoy this fitness fest as much for the spectacular views as for the athletic challenge. After a one-mile swim off James Kealoha Beach Park, they pedal 40 kilometers along the beautiful Hamakua Coast before running a 10K past ocean vistas and black-sand beaches. Finishers swap stories during the lively post-race barbecue.
Tinman Triathlon (July)
The Tinman was founded in 1979 by four friends who didn’t have the time for intensive training. The idea caught on, and today it’s a popular race for regular athletes rather than elite competitors. Each leg presents just the right challenge, from the quarter-mile swim and 10-mile bike ride to the 3.1-mile run that finishes at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki.
Ford Ironman World Championship (October)
The top 2,000 triathletes from around the world go head-to-head in this high-profile event on Hawaii Island. The course — a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run — draws hundreds of cheering spectators, especially at the finish line in Kailua-Kona. As Hawaii triathlons go, it’s akin to the Super Bowl.