There are a huge number of triathlons available to enter in the UK, with a range of distances and locations to suit all abilities. The challenge of the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running in the open air is thrilling and tests mental and physical endurance to the limit.

The sense of excitement and adventure can be even more special during an off-road triathlon, where you won’t encounter any traffic on the running and cycling routes. Here are some of the best off-road triathlons in the UK.


Aviemore Triathlon (17 Sept)

If it’s a scenic location you are after, then you can’t do better than the Aviemore Triathlon, set in the stunning Cairngorm mountain range in Scotland. The open water swim stage takes place in Loch Morlich, which has excellent water quality and is surrounded by mountains.

The running and mountain biking stages take place through the trails of Glenmore Forest, where you will be tarmac and traffic free. The triathlon is run by Durty Events, who have a reputation for managing professional but inclusive and friendly events in Scotland and northern England.

At Aviemore, there is a choice of distances: the standard (known as the Long Hard Durty) comprising 1,000m open water swim, 18 km bike ride, and 9 km trail run.  The sprint distance (The Short Fast Durty) consists of 500m open water swim, 12 km bike ride, and 5km trail run. It is possible to enter online.


Craggy Island Triathlons (23 & 24 Sept)

The Craggy Island Triathlons are also run by Durty Events, and take place on the Hebridean Island of Kerrera off the west coast of Scotland. The open water stage involves a 600m point to point around Kerrera Marina. The cycling stage is off-road, setting off from Gylen Castle on the south of the island for a 16 km route.

The running stage will take you through a picturesque trail around the north peninsular of the island, with rugged terrain and sea views all around. Participants are advised to get the foot passenger ferry from Oban to avoid traffic congestion and car parking issues.


Xterra UK (13 May)

The off-road Xterra Triathlon takes place around Weston Park House in Shropshire. It offers 1,000 acres of grounds landscaped by Capability Brown, so there will be excellent views at every stage. The route is designed for speed and it’s perfect for ultra competitive triathletes who want to test themselves against the best. 

The venue is an excellent place for those who want to spectate as well, as the elegant Weston Park House and gardens are full of interest and history. There are long walks around the grounds to enjoy, and a Woodland Adventure Playground to keep the kids busy. Spectator entrance fees are just £7 per day and the under fours go free.

For entrants, there is the Super Sprint World Triathlon Age Group Qualifier to aim for, as well as the Sprint Distance Duathlon European Championship Qualifier.


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Tommy Reed