Forget The Iron Man, The Isklar Norseman Is The Most Badass Triathlon In The World



The ‘Iron Man’ in Hawaii is often regarded as the world’s hardest triathlon, but that’s mainly because of the TV coverage it gets. The Isklar Norseman triathlon is in fact batshit insane, the most intense triathlon in existence, and something only the world’s top handful of athletes are capable of completing.

I’ve only just learned about The Isklar Norseman based on the video below I came across, but I was intrigued and dug a little deeper to see what it was all about, and HOLY SHIT this race is insane, and the people who attempt it are even more insane.

From The Isklar Norseman’s website:

3.8km in the Hardangerfjord. In recent years, the water temperature at the starting point on race morning has been between 13 and 15 degrees Celsius.
Wetsuits are mandatory.
The swim begins with a water start, after athletes exit the ferry.
180km from Eidfjord at the Hardangerfjord; on National Road 7, up Måbødalen, across Hardangervidda to Geilo; National Road 40 across Dagalifjell to Uvdal, county roads over Imingfjell to Tessungdalen.
Transition zone (T2) is in Austbygde at Tinnsjøen.
42.2 kilometers from Austbygde towards Rjukan, to the peak of Gaustatoppen. The first 25km are reasonably flat, while the next 17.2km are a consistently steep climb up to 1850m. The first 37.5km are on tarmac; the final stretch to the peak is on a rocky path.

Total distance: 226 kilometers. (140.4 miles)

That breaks down to a grueling 2.36 mile swim, 112 mile bike trek, and it’s topped off with a full marathon length run of 26.2 miles.

So by now I hope you’ve accepted that your body is likely never going to be able to withstand the brutal beating it would take from a race like this. But while we’re still dreaming, here’s a little more information about the race:

The course runs point-to-point – or fjord to peak: Starting at sea level, with a 4 meter drop off a ferry into the Hardangerfjord, crossing the starkly haunting Hardangervidda mountain plateau, finishing at the rocky peak of Gaustatoppen, at 1,850m above sea level and 220km away, Norseman is a long day’s journey through some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery. The total ascent is 5,000 meters. The water is cold, clean, and comes lightly salted. The weather can be anything from brilliantly beautiful to blasting blizzard. If you’re really lucky, you may see porpoises, orcas or reindeer – or, more likely, baffled locals who think you are nuts, but will cheer you on anyway.

And the map of that entire course:


Isklar Norseman

So now that you’ve fully come to terms with that fact that neither you nor anyone you know will ever be able to complete this race, here’s the footage from the 2014 Isklar Norseman aptly titled ‘Crying in the Rain’ to signify just how much pain the athletes are subjected to:


Any triathletes out there reading this? Anyone know firsthand what the Isklar Norseman is like? We’d love to hear any and all personal accounts of the torturous triathlon so hit us up down below in the comments!

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