Ironman triathlon is coming to Alaska for the first time with race in Juneau

A photo of a lake with snowy mountains in the backdrop. A reflection of the mountains is also visible in the lake.
Auke Lake (Gillfoto / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Ironman triathlon is coming to Juneau next year. It will be the first time the event is ever held in Alaska.

The race will be on Aug. 7, 2022. It’ll include a 2.4-mile swim in Auke Lake, a 112-mile bike ride out the road and a 26.2-mile marathon in the Mendenhall Valley, in that order.

There isn’t even a 112-mile road in Juneau. But Ironman has been planning this race for over nine months now, and they were able to plan a course around the Auke Bay area.

Organizers say they weighed how to get all the bikes to Juneau, plus trail conditions and wildlife. But neither bears nor a lack of a road system to get to Juneau seemed to phase them. They’re partnering with Travel Juneau to plan the event.

“They’ve done this all over the world, so it really was impressive how (many) things we would have considered possibly an obstacle, they’re like, ‘Oh no… we’re gonna work it this way,’” said Travel Juneau’s Destination Marketing Manager Kara Tetley.

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Tetley said that Juneau has a unique appeal to racers as a travel destination.

“A lot of these athletes, my understanding, is that they are very excited to go to new places and that’s part of how they travel, you know? Their family vacation,” she said.

Up to 1,500 athletes, their families and their friends could be coming to Juneau for the triathlon. Tetley said it will be an economic boost for the city.

“Local businesses will be seeing a lot more visitors,” she said. The hotels will be probably full.”

Priority registration begins about a week from now, on Aug. 16 at 8 a.m. You can find out more about the race on the Ironman website.

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