Ironman 70.3 Muskoka: Our Inside Scoop


ironman 70.3 muskoka

July 8th, 2018

IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka is an event that has earned the respect of athletes from around the world, elite and age groupers alike as the IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka course is one that many feel, including professional athletes like Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae, is a “true test of ones athletic abilities”.  As challenging as it may be, this is aptly balanced as the course is as visually stimulating as it is physically challenging, that is why the course has earned the nickname “The Beauty and The Beast”.

Have we convinced you yet to rise to the challenge?  Click on the button below to register!



TriMuskoka and our local community is committed to making this the best race experience that athletes, visitors, volunteers, and spectators can have.  Our website also features businesses in our community that support you, your family, and the sport within Muskoka.

Please take time to view the various topics below and if you still have questions do not hesitate to e-mail us. The web site will be updated as the race approaches so check in at your convenience.


History in the making

The history of triathlon in the Muskoka region spans back to the late 1980s. Huntsville hosted the Canadian National Championships in 1991, the World Championships in 1992 and a World Cup in 1993. Few communities can boast this pedigree in the sport.  Many of the world’s best triathletes have raced in Huntsville including Olympic champions, World Champions, World record holders and many of the icons of the sport. The course has a reputation for being a very challenging course, one that separates the best from the pack, and that is one of the things that attracts the best to race in Huntsville. For the age groupers, being on the same course at the same time with the world’s best has a certain cache that’s hard to resist.


Trip Advice and Local Information

Now, we know that you are going to get lots of information about the course, the race, and a lot of that is on the IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka website.  However, there are a lot of things that logistically you need to do in order to make your trip to Muskoka.  So, we have a check list and we want to help you out.  Click on each one to help you plan your trip up here.

  1. Figure out how to get to Muskoka
  2. Get your accommodations
  3. Figure out about the local cuisine
  4. Try to explore the area.  There are many things to see and do in Muskoka.
  5. Look at the local weather report
  6. Figure out where you are going to do your training while you are here
  7. If you have questions that cannot be answered in the items above, please, by all means, contact us.



You can always refer to the IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Athlete Guide for a complete list of IRONMAN’s event specific info, but we at TriMuskoka want to give you information from our perspective where we have our ear to the ground living and breathing endurance sports right in the heart of Triathlon Country.


deerhurst resort ontario




The Race Venue: Canada Summit Centre

Is very exciting to have Ironman 70.3 Muskoka’s race centre at the Canada Summit Centre since this is back where the roots of triathlon in Huntsville started back in the late 1980s. There was a few smaller triathlons that were held at this venue (formerly known as the Centennial Centre) and eventually saw the Canadian Triathlon Championships held here in 1991, and the World Championships in 1992.

The race venue is centrally located in Downtown Huntsville at the Canada Summit Centre.  This area and building was meant to be the media centre for the G8 Summit that was held here in 2010.  However, given certain logistics, the media centre was moved to Toronto, and we benefitted from having a spectacular facility left as a lasting legacy of this international political event.

The Canada Summit Centre is located on a quiet parcel of land that is the home to a number of local landmarks:

  • Camp Kitchen: This is the small park at the end of Camp Kitchen Road where the swim start will take place.Doppler Online -Camp-Kitchen  Camp Kitchen plays host to a number of smaller social events including weddings, and it is the starting place of our early morning swims that take place over the course of the summer and fall months.  This is where early settlers and cottagers came to board steamships so that they could go to their cottages and places of residence back on the late 1800s and early 1900s before Muskoka got to be known as the premier summer vacation spot back in the 1930s. Muskoka Heritage Place and the Huntsville Train Society run a historical train ride from the Canada Summit Centre out to Camp Kitchen during the summer months.
  • Lions Lookout and our “old track”:  Lions Lookout is a great place where you can walk up to or drive to to get breathtaking vistas of Fairy Lake.  The best times to go are at sunrise and sunset where you can see the colours of the sun blanket Fairy Lake and the forests that surround the lake.  The old track is a natural granite amphitheatre where our community track club, soccer club, running club, and our triathlon club would host their workouts.  It has been the location of a music festival in recent years, but most notably with respect to the triathlon history in the area, this is where the transition zone was for the 1992 World Triathlon Championships.  Imagine getting out of the water and running up that steep hill to get on your bike!  There is a great trail that climbs up the back side of Lions Lookout from Camp Kitchen to the old track, and this is part of our run course for the TriMuskokan Short Course Triathlon and Try-a-Tri that our club hosts every June.
  • Conroy Park and our “new rubberized track”:  This is now the location of where our clubs do most of their track workouts, soccer games, lacrosse games, and where the local tennis club operates out of.  This too is part of our short course event.
  • Canada Summit Centre:  This facility houses both NHL and Olympic sized arenas, our 6 lane 25 meter pool (with shallow play pool and therapy pool), an indoor track, and a community centre.  Things are always a buzz here from morning to night with local sporting and social activities.


swim 70.3




The IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Swim Course

They swim course for the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka takes place in Fairy Lake and the last 750m of the swim passes through the Muskoka River which connects Lake Vernon to Fairy Lake.

Typically at the time of the year that the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka takes place, the water temperature ranges between 20 and 21°C (68 to 70°F).  The transition zone is set up in front of the Canada Summit Centre, and athletes and spectators will have to make a 10 minute walk from transition to the swim start at Camp Kitchen. We recommend that you wear your shoes down to the start and use the bag drop there since Camp Kitchen Road is a partly paved and partly gravel road.   At the swim start, Camp Kitchen has a nice grassy area where you can wait your turn to get in the water for your wave.  There will be a corral system set up so that the waves can get into the water sequentially, have enough time for a quick warm up before the start of the swim and then get to the start line for the start of their Ironman 70.3 Muskoka adventure.

This stretch of the Muskoka river has a very important place in the hearts of locals when it comes to local triathlon history here in Huntsville (read more local triathlon history here).  In 1992, athletes from around the world took the starting line at Camp Kitchen, and started their swim exactly where the Muskoka 70.3 swim starts.

The swim exit was not down where the Muskoka 70.3 swim exit is located by Alberto’s Salon and Spa, rather it is at our old town dock which is located behind the Canada Summit Centre.  If you visit the area, you will see this dock as you walk from the Summit Centre to Camp Kitchen.  Take a minute and envision the monstrous climb that athletes would have had to run up to the Lions Lookout track where the transition zone was set up in the natural granite amphitheatre that exists there. For those of you who have done the race at Deerhurst, you are well aware that there was quite a climb from the swim exit to transition behind Deerhurst, however that pales in comparison in to the climb that athletes had to do to get to transition at the 1992 world championships.

Spectators will be able to line the shores of Fairy Lake and vantage points will be great for the start, but even better for the last part of the swim as swimmers head down the Muskoka River towards the swim exit.  As athletes exit the water at a private dock, there is a short (and flat) run to the transition which will be lined by cheering spectators as athletes get ready to take on the bike course which is quaintly known as “The Beauty and The Beast”

Click here to see the full IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Swim Course Map

Don’t forget to sign up for our Sunrise Swim for Hospice fundraising swim on July 8th at 7am.  This 1.6km swim raises much needed funds for our local residential hospice and end-of-life palliative care programs in our community.  Read more about it here.



bike 70.3




The IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Bike Course

**NOTE: The Bike Course is different for 2018!!  It is a little easier (less hills = faster) and will likely be 90km instead of 94km.  This is due to a bridge being under construction on the ‘normal’ route.  Some of the description below hence is not correct exactly, but keep in mind we are using the same roads as the normal route, its just an out and back, instead of the full loop.  This year there is no South Portage Rd, no Dwight Beach Road, no Dorset, and no Hwy 35. **

The IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka bike course circumnavigates the historic and picturesque Lake of Bays, with the water always off your right shoulder.  Known for its variety of hills, this is the athletes first exposure to “The Beast”, and equally all of “The Beauty” that the Muskoka region has to offer.

The first part of the course heads away from the Canada Summit Centre and head south along Brunel Road, which features rolling hills until you turn left onto Britannia Road.  Britannia Road is a challenging stretch of the bike course as there are two short but significant climbs along this stretch of road.  So much so, that our club likes to use this stretch for hill repeats.  But, for every uphill, there is a downhill.  Britannia Road is a quiet residential road, with good traffic sight lines, so biking on this stretch will be straight forward.  There are two sharp turns that we ask that you take care on just in case there is traffic coming the other direction.  At the end of this road, there is a steep downhill as athletes approach South Portage Road where they will turn left.  Ones natural tendency would be to ride out the downhill to get some speed and cover some distance, but with the left hand turn at the bottom of the hill, we ask that athletes get out of the aerobars, have their hands on the brakes and do a controlled descent.

Once athletes hit South Portage and turn left, the circumnavigation on the infamous Muskoka lollipop begins.  Quiet cottage roads lie ahead of athletes until the quaint Village of Dwight will welcome athletes before turning onto Highway 35.

Along Highway 35 and 117, the road is in fantastic shape, and there are 3 to 4 foot shoulders the whole distance.  The only break in this would be when the athletes cycle through Dorset, which is a scenic little cottage town and over a single lane bridge.  On Brunel Road, there are rolling hills that present the athletes with a challenge and until about 15km left on the bike, where the final stretch back to the Canada Summit Centre is pretty much downhill.  So much so that it is fun to the point where you might want to yell “Wheeeee!” all the way down the hills.

All the while on the course, as you can see by the map and photos, athletes are offered breath taking vistas of our lakes, our majestic rock cuts, and quaint little towns.  Our bike course is one that is proven and revered as one that is challenging but fair.  The race will go through several small communities that will offer bottle exchanges, food support, and lots of enthusiasm from the local residents.

Our community members, volunteers and visiting spectators are always out at the ends of their cottage roads cheering on the athletes to keep them motivated and smiling.  Take a minute to say thank you if you have the chance.

A significant amount of road work has been put into the road conditions for the IRONMAN Muskoka 70.3 course since its inception.  Therefore, it makes logistical sense to continue utilizing these roads as the part of the race course.  Further development and management of these roads will only serve to improve the conditions for both 70.3 and full IRONMAN courses.

Click here to view the IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Bike Course


RUN 70.3




The IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Run Course

The run course has been updated for 2018! 

Using many of the same roads as you are used to, athletes will return from the bike, mount their bike in transition at the Canada Summit Centre and then head onto a two-loop course through the beautiful and historic downtown core of Huntsville.  Since the introduction of triathlon to Huntsville in 1986, the downtown core has played host to the run course during many different times for many different triathlon, cycling, and running events.  There is something magical about the way that the downtown core is situated with the small town businesses and restaurants flanking the road which suddenly opens up to vistas of bodies of open water all along the run course.

Athletes will be following the shores of Fairy Lake the whole distance, during which time the athletes will take solace in this run course that has been selected to minimize any hills.  This will be a much deserved break after athletes return from the notoriously hilly bike course.

After running through quiet neighbourhood streets, the athletes will cross over the historic swing bridge and enter the downtown core on closed streets where spectators can cheer them on as they run along Main Street where our community will be there to welcome them on their journey.

The next portion of the route heads out for a short distance along a flat section of Hwy 60, where there are views of Fairy Lake to the south, and hopefully a cool breeze off the lake to greet you as well!

Running back into the downtown core, athletes will be greeted by cheering spectators as a festive atmosphere will light up the midway point for the run course.  Athletes will experience Downtown Huntsville multiple times while traversing this 2 loop course. The course passes by several restaurants and parks that will make it enjoyable for the spectators and families to watch the race from so that they won’t be missing any of the action.  This festive environment will give athletes loud and boisterous cheers of encouragement at not only the finish area, but also at the turn around as well.

Click here to view the IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Run Course


volunteer watermark




IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Volunteers

The athletes put so much time and preparation into getting themselves ready for IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka.  Our volunteers want to ensure that they are supported in every way along their journey from the very beginning to the very end.  Imagine a Formula 1 race car driver if they had no pit crew and had to change tires and fill up on gas on their own…

IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka requires over 500 volunteers to create the athletes support crew.  There are numerous organizations, charity groups, and individuals in our community that donate their time to do this.

However, if you are coming to watch the race, why not get into the thick of it and lend a helping hand.

Read more about volunteering and register on the Ironman 70.3 volunteer page


ironman muskoka spectators




Spectators Guide to Watching IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka

Think competing in an IRONMAN race is tough? Try being a spectator or supporter. Between scouting the perfect cheering spots and the laser-like focus it takes to catch a glimpse of your athlete, being an IRONMAN crew member is hard work.

Did you know that for every athlete doing IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka that there are 5 to 6 spectators?  That is a lot of people watching for a lot of hours to get a glimpse of the athletes that they came to support.  So, we want to give the spectators as much information as they can in order to best navigate around the course so that they can see as much of the action as possible.

Here are our local tips for spectators for the different parts of the course:

  • The Swim

    • To get the best vantage point for the swim, spectators will have to head down with plenty of time to situate themselves on the shores of Fairy Lake.  Athletes and spectators will make the walk down from the Canada Summit Centre, but as you approach Camp Kitchen the athletes will have to get put into their corrals with their other wave mates.  So, this gives the spectators a chance to go find a patch of grass to sit down on to watch the rising sun and the start of the swim.
      • Tip: bring a small towel or cushion to sit on just in case the morning dew hasn’t dried up yet…
    • After the swim has started, work your way down to pick a unique vantage point along the stone walls and the banks of the Muskoka River, where you can watch athletes on their final leg of the swim
    • There will be a chute setup that goes from the swim exit to the transition, so make sure you get in line there to cheer the athletes on and give them high fives as they head to transition
    • Don’t forget, the Sunrise Swim for Hospice fundraising swim on July 8th at 7am is not just for the athletes!  If you are family member or a friend of one of the 70.3 athletes, come out and enjoy an incredible swim experience as the sun rises over Fairy Lake at the 70.3 swim start.  This 1.6km swim raises much needed funds for our local residential hospice and end-of-life palliative care programs in our community.  Read more about it here.

  • The Bike (note the route is slightly different for 2018 only due to construction)

    • Drive out along Highway 60 to the small village of Dwight, and head down to the waterfront.  At their waterfront, there is a great beach for families to hang out at, build sandcastles and play while you wait for your athlete to come on by!  So make sure you bring a towel and your swimsuits with you!  There are some cafe’s down in this quaint little village for you to grab a snack at as well.
    • The Village of Baysville is a great little town in Lake of Bays, where there is a great park, lots of cafes and restaurants, and of course the award winning Lake of Bays Brewery. Check in there, hang out on their patio and what the bikes go by.
  • The Run

    • Now that the run goes through the downtown core of Huntsville, there is the real opportunity for spectators to help our community create a fantastic race experience for everyone by making it a big festive party!
    • Get out your street chalk, bring out your noise makers, paint up your craziest signs and line the streets of the downtown core all the way from Centre Street down across the historic swing bridge.
    • There are a lot of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, stores and ice cream shops in this area for you to grab something at on race day.  In fact, there are 5 ice cream shops within 1 kilometer, so you shouldn’t get to the point where you will be hot on race day!

Community residents should be aware of the potential road closures and detours that will be occurring on race day.  Main Street will be closed in the Downtown core, and traffic will be detoured around this area by way of signage that will be clearly marked.  The residents and businesses that reside within this area will be allowed to travel to their homes, however there will be no thru traffic.  Volunteers and police will be manning intersections, and special parking permits can be obtained at the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce.

Read more about all the insider tips on how to get the best vantage points on your athletes biggest day on the  IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka Spectator page