Looking to do a half for the first time? In search of a race that has a favourable course, easy to get to and possibly a travel destination? These five North American halves rank as our top options for taking on a 70.3 for the first time.

Montreal Espirit – Early September

Raced entirely within Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal Espirit offers a great racing environment, easy race transport and a fast course. The swim is in the rowing basin, where there are lines you can follow. This relieves the stress of sighting in the swim. On the bike, you remain entirely on the Formula One race track, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. With a lap circumference of 4 kilometres, family and friends will see you lots as speed by like an F1 racer. On the run, you zig zag within Parc Jean Drapeau, making loops around the basin.

Barrelman Niagara Falls – Mid September

Starting in Welland, Ontario and finishing at Niagara Falls, Barrelman is a must for any triathlete. The swim begins in the Welland International Flatwater Centre. Much like in Montreal, triathletes can follow lines in the rowing basin, making sighting easier. The bike course is pretty much as flat as they come, often accompanied by a tailwind as you head to the Falls. Jumping off the bike, and onto the run, you run along the river taking in one of the natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls.

first 70.3
2016 finish at Barrelman Niagara Falls

Ironman 70.3 Florida – Early April

Ironman 70.3 Florida, this is the race for all those snowbirds. Taking place in early April, Florida is a great place to get in some late winter racing. The swim features a rolling start where you estimate your 1.9km swim time, and out you go with other triathletes with the same estimated time. This relieves a lot of the stress of starting the swim with a hundred other people. The bike is a one loop course, with a few gently rollers through residential and country roads. The half marathon is a three-lap course around Lake Eva, with a mix of terrain, including trails and paths.

Great White North Triathlon – Early July

Taking place in Stony Plain, Alberta, just west of Edmonton, the Great White North Triathlon is an excellent introduction to the half Ironman distance. With its festive atmosphere and stunning course, add this to your bucket list of must-do triathlons. Occurring over the first weekend of July, this event draws a lot of national pride and enthusiasm.

Ironman 70.3 Victoria – Early June

The first IRONMAN branded race of the season in Canada is a great way to get an introduction to half Ironman racing. With a swim in calm lake waters, a stunning bike course passing great views of the ocean and a run along the trails by Elk Lake, Victoria is a must. Ironman 70.3 Victoria, starts your summer off with a great test of endurance and rewards with great views and a sense of accomplishment.

Victoria Harbour, BC, Canada

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