Following last year’s edition of Ironman Lanzarote, Ironman polled athletes on their Facebook page, “What is the toughest IRONMAN course on the circuit?” With 39.8% of the votes, Lanzarote took the top spot. Ironman Wales and Canada (Whistler) followed in second and third position.

Not unlike Kona, you can be all alone in the lava fields of Lanzarote.

Related: The slowest and fastest Ironman courses

With its ocean swim and barren, hilly bike route, Ironman Lanzarote is one of the longest-standing races in Europe. A Unesco biosphere reserve, Lanzarote offers a captivating landscape that is starkly beautiful – reminiscent of the black lava fields of Kona.

The race features a two-lap swim course that takes place at Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen. Along with its hilly bike course – over 2,500m of climbing – the island is notorious for strong winds. The race then finishes with a run course that leads the triathletes along the seafront of Puerto del Carmen, up to Arrecife and back, and then to Matagorda and back.

Ironman Lanzarote 2016

At this year’s race, Canadian Rachel McBride will race Ironman Lanzarote for the first time – and she’ll be doing it on a road bike due to an injury sustained two weeks ago. Kevin Mackinnon, Editor of Triathlon Magazine Canada, spoke with her before the race.

Related: VIDEO: Rachel McBride will race Ironman Lanzarote on a road bike

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