The inaugural IRONMAN Arizona was held on April 9, 2005, in cooperation with the City of Tempe and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. With its fast course around Tempe Beach Park and Tempe Town Lake, and spectator-friendly atmosphere, the race quickly gained popularity. Given the desert heat, the race was moved to a much cooler November race date in 2008, where it attracts a wide range of triathletes who've had the whole summer to train.
IRONMAN Arizona kicks off with a single-loop swim in Tempe Town Lake, followed by a challenging three-loop bike course through the Sonoran Desert. It finishes with a spectator-friendly run around Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park.
The course will remain a one-loop swim and follow a clockwise flow, with athletes exiting the same stairs that they entered from. Athletes will enter the water in a continuous stream through a controlled access point at the stair entrance as they enter the water, similar to how running road races are started. An athlete's time will start when they cross timing mats at the stairs. Athletes will be directed to self-seed on race morning based on their projected swim time. Volunteers and staff will be in the staging area with signs and will assist with this process. Self-seeding will not be mandatory, but will be encouraged.
The professional men's field will start their day at 6:40 a.m., and the professional women will start at 6:45 a.m. Age group athletes will follow at 6:50 a.m. We anticipate that all athletes will be in the water by 7:20 a.m. All athletes will still be given the 2 hour 20 minute time limit to complete the swim portion of the race; however, the current overall cut-off times for both the bike and run course, as well as any intermediate cut-offs, will remain in place.
The 2017 IRONMAN Arizona offers 40 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
This race stands out as one of the most urban races in North America.
The race kicks off with a single-loop swim in Tempe Town Lake. The rolling start is just west of the Mill Avenue bridge and begins by heading east. The rectangular course will go just past Rural Road bridge and first turn north and then west all the way back under the Mill Avenue bridges, where another turn south will put athletes on course to head straight back to shore and transition at Tempe Beach Park.
The relatively flat three-loop course heads out of Tempe and zig-zags out to the Beeline Highway, which gradually climbs approximately 10 miles through the Sonoran Desert to the turnaround just before Shea Boulevard. Athletes then return to Tempe Beach Park to start their second and third laps.
The run course is flat and spectator-friendly with a few small rollers, as athletes wind their way around Tempe Town Lake and through Papago Park. Athletes should be sure to pack a visor or hat in their T2 bags, as the course offers very little shade.