The 2017 IRONMAN Athletes’ Choice Awards

As you plan your 2018 season, who better to consult than your fellow athletes? Our annual athlete surveys tell the story best: using the information we gather from YOU, our community, we are proud to present our top 10 IRONMAN events across a variety of categories. Read on for the places and communities that will get you excited to race this year—whether you’re looking for a pristine swim, a memorable post-race party, or a bike course that will leave you drooling.

Overall Satisfaction

IRONMAN Maryland stole the show for Best Overall Satisfaction.
IRONMAN Maryland stole the show for Best Overall Satisfaction.

1. IRONMAN Maryland: “The city, volunteers, and race director made my first IRONMAN experience everything I dreamed it would be.”

2. IRONMAN Wisconsin: “IRONMAN Wisconsin can’t be beat. The course is beautiful, challenging and rewarding. The spectators are out of this world, and the course design allows for them to travel around to several spots.”

3. IRONMAN Hamburg: “The race itself was just fantastic, I loved it. I loved the build up to it and the special feeling coming down the carpet and the individual volunteer who took us to the Athlete Village.”

T4. IRONMAN Vichy: “The support on the course was wonderful and I felt like the locals really got behind the event. The passion of the organizers was also evident , and returning for the final finishers was the highlight of the day.”

T4. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “I loved the whole atmosphere. The positive energy and excitement was palpable. The volunteers are amazing and the finish line is incredible.”

T5. Subaru IRONMAN Mont Tremblant: “Mont-Tremblant was the best venue for a race I have ever been to. I loved it and so did my family. I’ll be back next year!”

T5. Subaru IRONMAN Canada: “The best part of the race was the setting of Whistler. It is a staggeringly beautiful course.”

8. IRONMAN France: “The ambiance and global feel of this race was unparalleled.”

9. IRONMAN Arizona: “Amazing atmosphere, spectators, and volunteers who made the day possible.”

10. IRONMAN Wales: “The host city and country, atmosphere, and local support is unreal. No event can complete!”

Overall Swim

The swim at IRONMAN Cozumel has been described as paradise.
The swim at IRONMAN Cozumel has been described as paradise.

1. Mazda IRONMAN Cozumel: “Best open water swim I’ve had in any event. The water was crystal clear, perfect temperatures, and I could see fish swimming.”

2. Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, South Africa: “Love love love the rolling start here, so much better for us first-timers.”

3. Subaru IRONMAN Canada: “An absolutely gorgeous venue surrounded by mountains. Every race should be like this.”

4. IRONMAN Australia: “The weir [low dam or bridge] crossing is cool, a unique feature.”

5. Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery: “You can’t really argue with a downstream swim!”

6. IRONMAN Barcelona: “The swim is so beautiful you almost forget you’re racing.”

7. IRONMAN Louisville presented by Norton Sports Health: “A chill, relaxing way to start a long day.”

T8. IRONMAN Italy: “Wonderful support and organization at the swim.”

T8. IRONMAN Wales: “With the Welsh national anthem and Thunderstruck, it was a perfect, and fitting, start to the day!”

10: IRONMAN Maryland: “Very helpful. I used to be somewhat of an anxious swimmer and did not feel like I had anything to worry about during this race.”

Overall Bike

IRONMAN Mont Tremblant won for Best Overall Bike. (Photo: Nils Nilsen)
IRONMAN Mont Tremblant won for Best Overall Bike. (Photo: Nils Nilsen)

1. Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium: “Great bike course. The support and road surfaces made it successful.”

2. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “My favorite part of the race was the bike course, and the cheering along Mirror Lake drive on the run.”

3. Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, South Africa: “Absolutely stunning and otherworldly.”

4. IRONMAN Maryland: “One of the best supported bike courses I have ever been on. The course support was very visible and the staff at the aid stations were very friendly and supportive, and the nutrition was easily accessible.”

5. Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship, Cairns: “Sweeping views, good roads, excellent support all around.”

6. Mazda IRONMAN Cozumel: “I actually really loved riding on the long, straight road.”

7. IRONMAN France: “A beautiful and challenging course.”

8. IRONMAN Lanzarote: “If you want some good Kona training, or to feel like you’re cycling on Mars, this is the race for you.”

9. Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery: “The motivation at the Chickamauga bike point was my favorite.”

10. IRONMAN Mar del Plata: “Great bike course design and support.”

Overall Run

The IRONMAN Louisville finish line is truly special, and the event won for Best Overall Run.
The IRONMAN Louisville finish line is truly special, and the event won for Best Overall Run.

1. IRONMAN Louisville presented by Norton Sports Health: “The IRONMAN Louisville run finish at 4th St. Live is best in class.”

2. Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship, Texas: “So many opportunities for family and friends to cheer you on along the run course.”

3. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “Running around the Olympic Oval and the finish line atmosphere in general were my favorite parts.”

4. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand: “The course and the support received are hard to describe. You really just have to be there!”

5. Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium: “Absolutely amazing run course. The volunteers kept you really pumped up and the section along the Petit Train du Nord was something to look forward to.”

6. Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, South Africa: “Perfect in my opinion. Couldn’t ask for better.”

T7. IRONMAN Wisconsin: “The run loops up State Street really lifted my spirits and Madison is an amazing host city.”

T7. IRONMAN Wales: “I felt so safe and looked after by all the outstanding volunteers along the run.”

9. IRONMAN Maryland: “I loved the run course for this race. The spacing of the aid stations was fantastic and the fact that we looped downtown Cambridge several times provided much needed energy from the spectators and crowds.”

10. IRONMAN Hamburg: “Supergeile Athmosphäre :-)” (Super atmosphere.)

Best Race Venue

T1. Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium: “This is clearly an ‘A’ race. I can’t possibly say enough about the venue, local community, and supporters. This is a race that to me represented exactly what an IRONMAN should be.”

T1. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “The Lake Placid venue is magical. The volunteers and spectator support is top notch! I think some of that 1980 Olympic magic has stuck around over the years.”

3. IRONMAN Wisconsin: “The city of Madison is just a great place to race. The people make the day what it is.”

4. IRONMAN Wales: “Tenby and Pembrokeshire rally together to host this unforgettable event. We loved the overall feel of the venue.”

5. Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery: “Chattanooga does a stellar job with this event. Everything was first-class.”

T6. IRONMAN France: “A truly friendly and loving community.”

T6. Subaru IRONMAN Canada: “The centralized Whistler village makes this race so group-friendly and a unique experience.”

8. IRONMAN Arizona: “I loved how the bike course kept bringing you back to the start point where the energy was.”

9. Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, South Africa: “The town comes out for the event like it’s a city-wide party. Unreal.”

T10. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand: “There’s a reason this race has been around so long. As an athlete you really can’t ask for better.”

T10. IRONMAN Australia: “Such a great vibe in Port Mac, chilled and relaxed and so supportive.”

Best Host City Experience

1. IRONMAN Wisconsin: “Madison as a venue was outstanding! The people involved in the race and the general public were so gracious. I will definitely be back!”

2. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “I seriously couldn’t think of a better place to do my first IRONMAN.”

3. Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium:”A simply gorgeous location for an IRONMAN, and the people of Mont Tremblant treat you like royalty. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

4. Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery: “The people and the city of Chattanooga are the best! I have traveled and done many courses and this is my favorite.”

5. Mazda IRONMAN Cozumel: “The whole island does an excellent job of hosting from the kids who staff the aid stations to the families cheering.”

6. IRONMAN Wales: “Tenby was simply ace. You cannot ask for a better IRONMAN town.”

T7. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand: “Taupo—how do you even describe it? A historical IRONMAN place indeed.”

T7. IRONMAN Arizona: “My favorite IRONMAN experience. The town of Tempe really does it up.”

9. IRONMAN Maryland: “This was my first full IRONMAN. My only worry is that no future event will live up to Cambridge in terms of how they embrace the race!”

T10. Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship, Texas: “The Woodlands comes together for this race in a really special way.”

T10. IRONMAN Australia: “Port Macquarie is classic … unmatched on the race circuit.”

Best Post-Race Celebration

1. Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium: “The finish line is the best in the business. My fifth time going and it still brought tears to my eyes.”

2. IRONMAN Maryland: “The videos shown at the post-race celebration never fail to make me choke up. The finish line was fantastic and the last mile or so of the run, too.”

3. IRONMAN Sweden: “The whole town comes out and the positivity is infectious.”

4. Memorial Hermann IRONMAN North American Championship, Texas: “Rockin’!”

5. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “It was my first IRONMAN experience, and it was everything I expected it to be and more. Every detail was accounted for, and Mike Reilly and the crowd at the end are unforgettable.”

6. IRONMAN Malaysia: “The awards dinner was so much fun, and I made so many new international friends.”

7. IRONMAN Santa Rosa: “Can you get any better than wine country for a way to celebrate such an accomplishment? I don’t think so.”

8. Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery: “The activity level at the finish line and at the end of the race was worth the work and suffering.”

9. IRONMAN Wisconsin: “I felt like a celebrity the whole darn weekend.”

10. IRONMAN Vichy: “This spa town sure knows how to party.”

Will Attend Next Year

1. IRONMAN Korea: “It was great for my first time. I’d do this race again.”

2. IRONMAN Malaysia: “The volunteers were one of a kind. I was smiling right through to the end.”

3. IRONMAN Taiwan: “This race delivered everything I expected and more. I will be back!”

4. IRONMAN South American Championship, Brazil: “I must return to Brazil every year to soak in the life-giving atmosphere of IRONMAN and my Brazilian triathlon community. I have no words.”

5. IRONMAN Mar del Plata: “Las personas en Argentina, mui receptivas.” (The Argentinian people were so receptive.)

6. IRONMAN Australia: “The experience as a whole was fantastic.”

7. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN New Zealand: “This will be etched in my memory for a long, long time. Loved it.”

8. Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, South Africa: “Seamless. At an event fraught with so much anxiety, the communication and experience was epic.”

9. Club La Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote: “This race is a staple on my IRONMAN list, everyone should do it once.”

10. SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia: “My favorite event ever!”

Will Recommend to a Friend

1. IRONMAN Sweden: “Kalmar sure knows how to make athletes feel special.”

2. IRONMAN Lake Placid: “The entire experience from venue to race was absolutely amazing! For my first 140.6 experience it was wonderful.”

3. Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium: “This was the best IRONMAN experience I’ve ever had. Just superb—I will be back for sure!”

4. IRONMAN Wales: “Tenby rocks. Challenging course and scenic location is a jewel in the IRONMAN crown.”

5. Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, South Africa: “The fanfare, the support, the friendly city, all just great.”

6. IRONMAN Wisconsin: “From day one sign up to crossing the finish line, the organization and support is beyond amazing. Every detail was thought of, making this an absolutely perfect experience for racers and their families. Just awesome.”

7. IRONMAN Maryland: “I cannot speak highly enough of this race.”

8. Mazda IRONMAN Cozumel: “Cozumel is paradise on earth and the locals give their all for the event.”

9. KMD IRONMAN Copenhagen: “A picturesque, colorful European IRONMAN experience like no other!”

10.  Club La Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote: “You only live once. Do this race!”

Bonus Categories

Best Music: Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship, Cairns

Best Race Food Selection: Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant presented by Sportium: “Poutine with pulled pork and real beer at the finish?! I need to do another IRONMAN to burn of the calories. THE BEST!”

Best Restaurants: Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery



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