Thinking about racing IRONMAN Frankfurt? Long course age-group triathlete, Jenny Lucas-Hill, discusses everything you need to know about this iconic European IRONMAN race. With insights from three experienced IRONMAN Frankfurt finishers, keep reading to find out why you should add Frankfurt to your race schedule.
Host to the 2024 IRONMAN European Championship for PRO male athletes and age group athletes, IRONMAN Frankfurt draws together vibrant culture, rich history and unrivalled support from the local community.
Located in the heart of Germany, Frankfurt offers athletes and spectators alike the opportunity to experience the bustle of a metropolis, iconic landmarks and historic charm.
Location - modern day metropolis meets historic charm
Frankfurt is known as a city of diversity. On the one hand, a bustling modern day metropolis and a major financial hub. On the other, a city of rich culture filled with museums, historic charm and tradition.
While many might think of Frankfurt as a go-to winter destination to experience a traditional German Christmas market. With its vast array of parks, botanical gardens and even a 5000 hectare city forest, summer in Frankfurt offers up plenty of opportunity to enjoy being outdoors.
In August, visitors can expect average temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius. In recent years, European heat waves have brought even hotter conditions on race day. So heat prep is a must to get ready for this iconic IRONMAN race.
Athlete & spectator accessibility
IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt have taken steps to ensure that both athletes and participants with disabilities can experience the race. For athletes, it’s recommended to reach out to the organisers during the registration process to discuss your specific requirements and ensure a smooth experience. IRONMAN Frankfurt have designed the event venue and transition areas to be as accessible as possible. Athletes can make arrangements with the organisers to have a guide or support personnel during the race. Where adaptive equipment such as hand cycles and racing wheelchairs are required, participants are advised to co-ordinate with the IRONMAN Frankfurt organisers to ensure that the equipment is accommodated appropriately. For spectators, there are multiple accessible viewing areas along the race course which are suitable for wheelchair users. Assistance services can also be arranged, including accessible seating, wheelchair rental and designated assistance personnel.
Why race... IRONMAN Frankfurt
Hear from three age-group triathletes who've been there and got the finisher t-shirt on what makes IRONMAN Frankfurt special.
Course - rolling hills and incredible support
The course at Mainova IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt offers the perfect blend of difficulty and excitement. A lake swim with an Australian exit makes for a first-timer friendly start to the day. The rolling bike course features a mix of fast flat stretches and challenging hills. Tough enough for seasoned athletes to push their limits, without making it inaccessible to those tackling the distance for the first time. Meanwhile the multi-lap city centre run course gives you iconic landmarks and plenty of spectator support to take your mind off the effort.
Swim - 3.8km
The swim takes place in the scenic waters of Langener Waldsee, with a rolling start. While it’s a one-lap course, there’s an Australian exit at the 1500m point with athletes briefly exiting the water. This offers first-timers the chance to re-group before they tackle the rest of the swim. And for those at the pointy end of the race, it’s a great opportunity to see where you are against the rest of the field. Practice your swim-run-swim in training, and you could make up a few places with a brief sprint.
BIke - 182km
With approximately 1600 metres of elevation gain, the IRONMAN Frankfurt bike course offers a blend of fast flat sections, rolling hills and a few more challenging climbs. The picturesque landscapes of the surrounding villages are contrasted against the impressive city skyline.
Run - 42.2km
A favourite with athletes, the 4-lap run course takes athletes on a tour of downtown Frankfurt. Iconic city landmarks and thousands of cheering spectators will fill with you energy as you tick off the miles. The relatively flat course profile offers up PB potential, but be warned – the Frankfurt heat can add an extra layer of challenge, so keeping cool is a must.
Race training & prep
Frankfurt offers up plenty of opportunities for athletes to get their final training sessions ticked off during race week. The race day swim location, Langener Waldsee, is located just outside the city – around a 15km bike ride away from the centre or a short trip by car/public transport. A favourite among local triathletes, it’s easy to familiarise yourself with the swim conditions you can expect on race day. You’ll also find several open air swimming pools dotted around the city, making it easy to get those structured pool sessions done. The Taunus region is around 30km north of Frankfurt and provides hilly terrain to help you get ready for the elevation you’ll experience on the bike course. The Feldburg route in the Taunus Mountains is one to check out if you’re looking for challenging climbs and exciting descents. You can also make use of the Eschborn-Frankfurt cycling race route – a cyclists’ playground with some tougher sections similar to those of the official IRONMAN Frankfurt bike course. Closer to race day, when you want to save the legs, the bike paths along the Main river back in Frankfurt offer flat and easily accessible routes for those final pre-race spins.
Travel & accommodation
Frankfurt is easy to travel to. The airport is one of the busiest in Europe, with direct flights from almost 100 countries. Train links from the airport to the city centre make it easy to get around, even if you haven’t got access to a car. The city offers up plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation, with a huge number of hotels and hostels in Frankfurt to suit every budget. Le Meridien hotel Frankfurt is an ideal city-centre choice, located only a short walk away from the finish line. If you prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle, or would prefer to be closer to the swim start you can also find plenty of Air BNB accommodation in the smaller towns close to the lake.
Spectators - be part of the race day action
Frankfurt has an abundance of activities to keep spectators busy during race week while their athlete gets ready for race day. From the iconic Main Tower to the culinary delights of the Kleinmarkthalle and the various green spaces to explore around the city.
Sight-seeing aside, IRONMAN Frankfurt also offers up events for active spectators including the IRONKIDS race and the NightRun.
On race day it’s easy for spectators to be a part of the IRONMAN Frankfurt action. Head down to the swim start at Langener Waldsee to see your athlete start their day. A shuttle bus is available from Kurt-Schumacher-Straße and the Hotel Meridien to the swim start between 4am and 6am, and you can hop back on to head back to the city after the swim.
In the city, the crossing at the Old Bridge is a great spot to cheer your athlete on during the bike course as they’ll pass by three times. You can also take the underground train from Frankfurt-Hauptwache to the last stop, Bergen Enkheim. From here you can see athletes tackle the uphill section named ‘The Beast’.
The historic finish at Römer provides one of the best finish line atmospheres out there. Be part of the finish line party and experience the emotion as athletes complete their epic day of swim-bike-run.
Race-cation - city sights and culinary delights
Post-race, make the most of the culture and history that Frankfurt has to offer. Stretch out the legs with a stroll along the River Main. Or explore the historic Römerberg square in Frankfurt’s Old Town, filled with charming architecture and a vibrant atmosphere.
Take a city tour and visit the iconic Main Tower, a 200m skyscraper named after the river Main. If you’ve got the energy, you can climb the tower to get an incredible panoramic view of the city.
Once you’ve finished taking in the impressive city skyline, head to the Kleinmarkthalle – located between the world-famous Römerberg and the shopping street “Zeil”. Here you’ll find all sorts of international food stalls. Whether you’re in the mood for a curry or a traditional Frankfurt sausage, there’s no shortage of choice for that all-important post-race refuel. And don’t forget to wash your food down with some of Frankfurt’s famous “Äppler” – apple wine.
A metropolis it might be, but Frankfurt also has a huge number of green spaces. A must-see is the Palmengarten botanical garden. And if all that sight-seeing is sounding a bit much for aching muscles, you’ll be glad to know Frankfurt also has a number of spas and wellness centres for some much-needed rejuvenation.
With so much more to explore, including museums and the shopping district – Frankfurt is a fantastic place to spend some vacation time after your race.