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25 Aug 2024
Tallinn
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Estonia

Let’s race… IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship Tallinn

Our IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn race guide will tell you everything you need to know to make this Nordic favourite your best race yet. From where to stay and where to train, to the must-see sights for your post-race vacation. We're here to help you get race day ready.
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Jenny Lucas-Hill

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Now part of the IRONMAN PRO series, 70.3 Tallinn is a firm favourite with elites and age-groupers alike. So why should you add a trip to Estonia to your race calendar? Long course triathlete Jenny Lucas-Hill shares insights from PRO triathletes Kat Matthews, Pieter Heemeryck and Laura Phillipp, plus some age-groupers who've been there and got the finisher t-shirt.

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Let Tallinn set the scene for your next IRONMAN 70.3 personal best. A stunning medieval city where old meets new, coastal charm meets impressive urban skylines and “everything is in running distance”. Home to this year’s 70.3 European Championships, and a stop on the new IRONMAN Pro Series tour. IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn promises an incredible atmosphere as top talent from around the world heads to the ultimate ‘by triathletes, for triathletes’ race.

Offering up a minimum of 35 Age Group Qualifying slots to the 2025 VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship on 8-9 November 2025 in Marbella, Spain – IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn is the perfect race choice to make the most of your summer training.

Experience the ultimate festival of triathlon at the IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship Tallinn

Location - Compact city, packed full of vibrant culture

Estonia’s capital of Tallinn is a compact city, packed full of contrasts. And swim-bike-run enthusiasts – with more triathletes per capita in Estonia than anywhere else in the world. Nestled on the Baltic Sea coast line, Tallinn offers up the ultimate blend of old and new.

It’s a city where 13th century heritage meets modern-day metropolis. Where historic medieval architecture sets the scene for a bustling café culture. Repurposed industrial buildings are home to trendy boutiques and family-friendly Bohemia. Towering churches and impressive gothic spires make way for sandy beaches and abundant green spaces. All ready and waiting to explore, with just a short stroll along the winding cobbled streets.

As you’d expect from the ‘Capital of Triathletes’, race weekend in Tallinn offers up an incredible festival atmosphere, fast courses and the opportunity to see some of the world’s best tear it up on the race circuit. Not only is IRONMAN Tallinn 70.3 the home of this year’s European Championship, it’s also a stop on the IRONMAN Pro Series – meaning you can expect top talent, including Kat Matthews, to be on the start line.

Surprisingly easy to travel to, whether you’re arriving by plane, train or boat. And even easier to get around, thanks to the city’s compact nature and free public transport for athletes during the event weekend. Tallinn gives you everything you need to have your best race yet.

Athlete & spectator accessibility

Athletes with disabilities are welcomed at IRONMAN Tallinn, though there is a specific entry process so it’s worth contacting the organiser via tallin@ironman.com to find out more and ask any questions.

For spectators, the Rocca al Mare race centre is accessible and is a great place to see plenty of the race day action. The swim start features a sandy beach which may not be the easiest to access for spectators with disabilities, however you can contact the race organiser to arrange assistance ahead of the race.

Why race... IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship Tallinn

For PROs and age-groupers alike, IRONMAN Tallinn race weekend has become a ‘must-do’ in their triathlon race calendar. And with fast – but interesting – courses, impeccable organisation and a stunning city to explore post-race – it’s not hard to see why. PRO triathlete Laura Phillipp, who took the win at IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn in 2023, says: “Tallinn is a very beautiful city, the race course is fast and fun and the race was well organized. I love the colorful city, I got addicted to the cinnamon buns and great food all over the town. I enjoyed the atmosphere around the race and a very nice and fast course. It’s great to experience racing in a Nordic country and the overall experience was enriching.” 

With the PRO seal of approval, find out why you should add a trip to Tallinn to your race calendar.

1
Epic scenery with fast, but interesting, courses
2
Incredible race weekend ‘festival’ atmosphere
3
Part of the new PRO series – share the course with the world’s best

Course - Perfect for PR hunters and scenery seekers alike

Starting in the waters of Lake Harku, the course at IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn is flat, fast and primed to offer up a new personal record over the 70.3 distance for those who want it. Take a tour of everything this stunning Nordic city has to offer, from the tranquil calm of the surrounding forest and countryside. To the electric atmosphere you’ll experience in the city centre.

“The course is challenging yet rewarding, offering diverse landscapes that keep you engaged throughout,” says 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 European Champion, Pieter Heemercyk. “The organization is top-notch, ensuring a smooth experience for all participants. What I particularly enjoy about this race is the vibrant atmosphere and the warm welcome from the local community. Their support along the route truly uplifts the spirit and fuels you to push beyond your limits.”

Swim - 1.9km / 1.2 miles

Begin your day on the sandy beach at the edge of Lake Harku, before making your way into water for a one-lap 1.9km swim. The swim course is easy to navigate, with plenty of buoys to help you stay on track. The water temperature is typically around 18 degrees Celsius (64.4 degrees fahrenheit) which means you generally can expect a wetsuit-legal swim.

BIke - 90km / 56 miles

The fast, flat two-lap bike course takes you through a scenic mix of countryside and city. Starting at Lake Harku, you'll head through some of the southern villages before heading back towards Tallinn. There's just 190m of elevation gain to contend with on each lap. Dial into that aero position and a fast bike split will be well within reach. "The road surfaces are amazing and the scenery is beautiful," says Tallinn AG finisher, Chris Wild. "The volunteers and locals really get behind the events too.”

Run - 21.1km / 13.1 miles

IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn features a split transition, with T2 situated in the city centre. The race has a reputation as being one of the best organised events going, and with the city being so easy to travel around, don't let the logistics of a split transition phase you. The run course is ultra-fast, taking athletes on a flat two-lap route with picturesque views of Tallinn bay. Find your rhythm, soak up the atmosphere from the crowds and you'll be crossing the finish line in lightning fast time.

Qualification

Got an eye on qualifying for the 2025 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships? We've taken a look at the fastest and slowest times in each age group from last year's event that would have secured a qualification slot, before any slots were rolled down. While it's impossible to predict who might be on the start line come race day, this will help you to get an idea of what finish time you might want to aim for to have a chance of going to the world championships. Where an age group is not listed, there were no competitors in that AG in last year's race.

Age Group
places
Fastest time
slowest time
18-24
2
04:01:28
04:18:46
25-29
5
04:07:16
04:18:24
30-34
9
04:05:01
04:33:02
35-39
11
03:59:12
04:32:50
40-44
9
04:04:28
04:34:25
45-49
8
04:10:10
04:38:05
50-54
5
04:24:57
04:54:13
55-59
3
04:35:45
04:38:26
60-64
1
04:40:05
65-69
1
05:33:25
75-79
1
07:59:43
Age Group
places
Fastest time
slowest time
18-24
1
04:43:24
25-29
2
04:30:19
04:53:10
30-34
3
04:34:46
04:52:10
35-39
3
04:26:54
04:45:28
40-44
4
05:12:17
05:33:17
45-49
3
05:13:42
05:19:47
50-54
2
05:21:09
05:46:54
55-59
1
06:13:58
60-64
1
06:18:22

Race training & prep

The course at IRONMAN 70.3 European Championships Tallinn might lend itself to fast times, but that doesn’t mean it should be underestimated. PRO triathlete and 2020 70.3 Tallinn champion Kat Matthews recommends practicing your open water swimming in the build up and making sure you’re dialled into that aero position on the bike. “The bike course is very fast so really considering your aerodynamics is important.”

Once you arrive in Tallinn, finding locations for those last few sessions during taper week couldn’t be easier – the city has an abundance of green spaces, cycle paths and it’s super triathlete-friendly. For open water swimming, take a trip south of the city to Männiku. The Pirita Promenade is a great spot for running, with scenic beach views to distract you from your pre-race nerves. Or use your final run sessions as an excuse to go and explore Kadrioru Park.

Dotted around the city’s many bike paths, you’ll find bicycle repair stations, public water taps and smart bike racks to make exploring on two wheels that bit easier. Or away from the busier cycle ways, you can head to Reidi Road for your final bike sessions.

It’s also worth checking out the dedicated “IRONMAN Estonia Athletes” Facebook group ahead of the race so you can get in touch with other athletes and get their recommendations for the best places to train, eat and stay in Tallinn.

Travel & accommodation

Tallinn is easy to get to, with the award-winning Lennart Mari Tallinn Airport just a few kilometres away from the city centre. There are also ferries everyday for those arriving from Helsinki.

Once you’ve arrived, getting around the city couldn’t be simpler. Most things are within walking distance (or running distance – we are triathletes after all!). And you can also enjoy free use of the extensive public transport network during race weekend. IRONMAN Tallinn also provide a shuttle bus service to take you to and from registration and to the swim start on race day.

There are plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget, including Air BnBs and self-catered apartments. Athletes can also get special discounted rates at the Tallink City Hotel, Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel and Tallink Express Hotel, or the Original Sokos Hotel Viru (discount codes available on the IRONMAN 70.3 Tallin race website).

Spectators - Watch the action unfold

With some of the world’s best PROs, including Kat Matthews, set to be racing – spectators can be certain that IRONMAN 70.3 Tallinn will bring plenty of excitement come race day. And the compact nature of the city makes being a part of the action easier than ever.

Head to Lake Harku and watch the athletes take to the water. From here, you’ll also catch them on their way out of T1 and on to the bike course. The Rocca Al Mare will then become the focal point for the day. Here you’ll find crowds of spectators, cheering the athletes on as they pass by on the bike laps, head off onto the run and finally make their way to finish line. But for spectators wanting a little more peace and quiet, Stroomi Beach is a perfect spot – especially for those with families – to take a picnic and support the race in a more laid-back atmosphere.

The whole race weekend brings a ‘festival of triathlon’ vibe, with the full IRONMAN distance race taking place on the Saturday. Plus an IRONKIDS event and a family-friendly charity walk/run “Move for Ukrainian Triathletes” on the Friday. Spectating, participating – or a bit of both – there’s plenty of opportunity to be a part of the action in Tallinn.

Race-cation - Rich history and trendy café culture

Once the finish line party has ended, it’s time to explore all the sights and delights that Tallinn has to offer. And you’ll be surprised by just how much there is to do in such a compact city!

For a taste of Tallinn’s rich history head to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town. It’s cobble stoned streets will have you winding your way through impressive medieval architecture under the watchful gaze of the towering gothic spires. Bursting with lively café culture, there’ll be no shortage of places to rest the legs and refuel before you make your way up to Toompea Hill. Here you’ll find viewing platforms to take in breathtaking views of the city and beyond.

A modern contrast to Old Town can be found by paying a visit to the Rotermann Quarter where you’ll find trendy bars and restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating to kickback. The Telliskivi Creative City brings old industrial buildings to life, creating vibrant indoor shopping streets with independent boutiques, art exhibitions and the Balti Jaama Market.

For the ultimate post-race celebration, treat yourself to a meal at one of Tallinn’s recently Michelin-recognised restaurants: Restaurant 180°, founded by Michelin starred chef Matthias Diether situated in the Noblessner seafront quarter. Or NOA Restaurant with amazing seafront views.

Experience the ultimate festival of triathlon at the IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship Tallinn

Be part of the action as this stunning Nordic country sets the backdrop for an incredible weekend of triathlon. Created by triathletes, for triathletes with fast courses and beautiful scenery, Tallinn sets the stage for your best race yet.

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