Difference between Ironman total distance and Ironman 70.3

January 13th, 2022

Difference between Ironman total distance and Ironman 70.3

The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) organizes a series of long-distance triathlon races known as Ironman Triathlons. Most people are familiar with the iconic Ironman World Championship race, which typically takes place in Kona every October. But the race in Hawaii isn’t the only Ironman out there. Races are held worldwide as part of the Ironman branded race series and those put on by other race organizations, known as “iron-distance triathlons.” 

Each year, over 96,000 competitors from over 90 nations, regions, and territories register to compete in Ironman races. 

Ironman triathlons are generally performed over two distances: the total Ironman distance and the half Ironman distance that is the 70.3 distance race– precisely half that.


Full-distance Ironman

The Ironman triathlon is an iconic triathlon where legends are made in the grand scheme of endurance racing. Full-distance Ironman includes a

  • 4-mile swim (3.8 kilometres),
  • 112-mile bike (180.2 kilometres),
  • 2-mile run (42.2 kilometres).

You may expect to finish these three legs in 10 to 17 hours, depending on your fitness level, route conditions, and race day weather, with women averaging 13:16 and men averaging 12:27. Approximately 10% of the race is spent swimming, 50% of the race spent on the bike, and 38% spent running. The remaining 2% is spent transitioning from swim to bike, known as T1, and bike to run, or T2.

This distance may take novice triathletes six to nine months to prepare, while experienced triathletes may only need four to six months.

Full-distance Ironman

The term “70.3” is commonly used to substitute for “half-Ironman.” In reality, 70.3 has become a brand name under the Ironman banner, and races are held worldwide.

After spending its formative years in Clearwater, Florida, the Ironman 70.3 became a championship race in 2006, and it currently rotates around the world to different venues.

The most recent event occurred in September 2021 in St George, Utah. The globe tour then resumes in 2024, with stops in Lahti, Finland, and Taupo, New Zealand.

The half-Ironman is one of the most famous distances in long-course multisport racing, especially among competitors transitioning from Olympic distance triathlon. But how long is a 70.3 or half-Ironman race? The following are the lengths of each leg:

  • Swimming 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometres)
  • Biking 56 miles (90.1 kilometres)
  • Running 13.1 miles (21.1 kilometres)

Half-Ironman races are often the ultimate test of endurance, stamina, speed, and efficiency. In comparison to Ironman distance racing, which is likewise increasing faster every year, high-level 70.3 athletes often race at relatively higher speeds.

Ironman 70.3 triathlons are frequently regarded as the ideal distance for athletes wishing to transition to long-distance racing. While the training commitment is far less than that of a full Ironman, it nevertheless provides triathletes with a challenging distance that takes between 4 and 7 hours to finish.

In most situations, Ironman 70.3 levels are more feasible for amateurs and age-group competitors, while full-Ironman distance triathlons require significantly more dedication and training. Although many athletes can develop their training programs, both amateurs and professionals often find value in triathlon coaching.


It is no small decision to decide which race to do—especially if it’s your first Ironman triathlon. Don’t be scared of taking the time to do the necessary research. You can look up the best or easiest Ironman for beginners, but that doesn’t always mean that’s the best or easiest Ironman for you.

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