As choosing next year’s triathlon race schedule is already in the planning stages in many families, we thought we’d give you a couple tips on selection. Local races are great, but travel races can be a blast for the group. Picking the perfect race location is key when making a triathlon a family vacation. If you are looking for an Ironman race and are a first time travel family with kids, we would have to recommend Ironman Arizona or Ironman Mont Tremblant in Canada. Both sites are loop courses, which means you can see your athlete a few times on the course. Whichever race you select, there are two main aspects to look for when traveling with kids. But of course, most importantly – location, location, location!

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A view from the bridge – swim start in Arizona.

First and foremost – Is the site family-friendly and somewhere the family wants to go?

Ironman Arizona is great because the race site is right in downtown Tempe and on the river. There are plenty of shady places to hang out at and the race is very close to the host hotel. As a side, always try and stay as close to the race site as possible. This allows you to go back and forth during the day, taking breaks as needed. Ironman Mont Tremblant is on the mountain and in the village, so the possibilities with kids are endless. Dana was just in Mont Tremblant last weekend for the race, so we have all the latest information. Check out our post Ironman Mont Tremblant – Post Race Update. We will also be doing The Sport of Spectating guide for Ironman Arizona in November, so check back. Both locations have fun family-friendly activities for before and after the race, so keep that in mind when planning the length of your trip.

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A view across the lake in Mont Tremblant.

How many times will you see your athlete?

LOOPS – Your best friend or your worst enemy. Let’s start with the swim. Point-to-point swims are okay as long as you have a clear path to walk point to point. IMMTB allows for this, but IMAZ is awesome! They start a bit down river and loop back to the finish. It is the best! In terms of the bike course, we generally prefer two loops. This gives you a good couple of hours to play, eat, or rest in between loops. Both of these locations make loop watching easy. Finally, the run. IMAZ offers the best run loops around and you can find a shady spot to camp out for the hours and hours. Not to fear, there is also great food close by. IMMTB not only offers great loops, but with a quick look at the pedestrian village map and run map, you can take short cuts to see your athlete even more. If you have small children, there are also great playgrounds in between.

We will discuss a lot more on traveling in future posts, such as how to pack for a race and how to vacation with training in mind, but always remember when planning your triathlon race schedule – location, location, location.

– DANA AND SHERRY

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE TRIATHLON LOCATION WITH THE FAMILY?