With its downtown finish line, Louisville is one of the most vibrant IRONMAN venues on the circuit.
Since it was first held in Louisville, Kentucky in 2007, this race quickly became a signature event for the charm-filled city. This quintessential race provides athletes and spectators with numerous entertainment, dining and recreational opportunities, and is the last qualifying event for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI.
Steeped in American history and part of the country’s historic Bluegrass region, Louisville is home to stately Victorian mansions and a vibrant urban parks system. In recent years, it’s attracted a thriving indie music scene, and families vacationing to the city will find plenty of free summer concerts and festivals along the famous Waterfront Park.
Athletes begin their day with a rolling swim start, a unique feature for a full-distance IRONMAN and a welcome one for anyone nervous about the typical mass start. After lining up along the banks of the Ohio River on a first come, first served basis, competitors jump in one at a time to start the first leg of their 140.6-mile race. Upon exiting the water, you’ll head into transition located on the Great Lawn, the centerpiece of Waterfront Park, before heading off for 112 miles of scenic biking.
A mixture of rolling hills and flat pastures characterizes the Louisville bike course, and riders can expect to be challenged as they traverse the Louisville Metro area and Oldham County. As part of the two-loop portion of the course, La Grange gives athletes a boost of energy: They can expect to be greeted here by thousands of cheering spectators and volunteers.
After finishing the bike, athletes only have one thing separating them from their memorable finish: 26.2 miles of flat running. Passing Churchill Downs, home of the famous Kentucky Derby, and the University of Louisville, there’s no shortage of distractions. The two-loop run course comes to a close with Fourth Street Live’s energetic welcome. Spectators and volunteers bring each athlete in to realize their dream of becoming an IRONMAN. Join us in Louisville and tick one of our most iconic races off your bucket list.
IRONMAN Louisville offers 50 qualifying slots for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI.