Ironman Triathlon coming to Britannia Beach in 2025 

A number of people swim in the Ottawa River at Britannia Beach on a hot summers day.
Thousands of athletes and spectators will be at Britannia Beach in August 2025 for the Ironman Canada-Ottawa Triathlon. Photo by Aaron Reid.

By Charlie Senack 

Some of the world’s top athletes will be coming to Britannia Beach in August 2025 for the Ironman Canada-Ottawa Triathlon. 

The event, typically held in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, is moving to Ottawa after outgrowing its previous host city. The Laurentian Mountains resort town of 9,600 attracted over 5,000 spectators and athletes during the 2023 event. 

In a news release, Keats McGonigal, Ironman VP of North American operations, said he was looking forward to starting a partnership in Canada’s Capital. 

“Ottawa offers the quintessential Canadian race environment, with a plethora of outdoor activities, great weather and a mosaic of culture all nestled at the very seat of government,” said McGonigal. 

The hardcore fitness competition will begin with a 3.8 kilometer swim in the Ottawa River followed by a 180 kilometre cycle down the city’s many National Capital Commission parkways, including the newly-named Kichi Sibi Mikan. It will end with a 42.2 kilometer run that begins at Parliament Hill and goes along the historic Rideau Canal to Hogs Back.

Bay ward councillor Theresa Kavanagh, who has participated in Ironman races before, was beaming with excitement after the news was announced. 

“It’s a huge boost to the economy of any place that has it. It brings in people that are highly involved and they bring their friends and family,” Kavanagh told KT. “For every athlete, there are usually three other people. They also sometimes come — even multiple times — to train.” 

Kavanagh, who is a regular Britannia Beach swimmer and cyclist, moved past marathon distance training after her last completion in 2013. But with the event being hosted in her own backyard, the opportunity to put on her bathing suit and lace up her shoes is tempting. 

Theresa Kavanagh poses for a photo outside the pavilion at Britannia Beach.
Bay ward councillor Theresa Kavanagh said she is considering competing in the Ironman challenge. Photo by Charlie Senack.

“I’m not a kid so we will have to see how I’m feeling. This year I already signed up to do a half Ironman,” she said. “Can I do the full? I don’t know. I ran 21 kilometers the other day. When I saw this, I thought the Gods must be telling me something. Never say never.”

A boost to tourism

Ottawa is in the midst of trying to brand itself as a world-class city. Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe recently traveled to London, England for a trade mission, where he also competed in a marathon. 

The country’s Capital has often been branded as a sleepy government town, but that changed in 2017 when over 11 million visitors came to witness Canada 150 celebrations which included La Machine, the Grey Cup, Juno Awards, and an NHL classic hockey game on the front lawn of Parliament Hill. Visitor spending topped $2.3 billion. 

Tourist numbers were expected to again drop in 2018 and 2019 but they remained mostly the same. All of that changed in 2020 when the world shut down because of COVID-19. Now bouncing back, Ottawa Tourism hopes Ironman will give the city a boost it needs. 

“Ottawa is the heart and soul of Canada. We are always proud and ready to hold our door open from people far and wide and show them everything we have to offer. Ottawa is growing as a sports destination,” said  Michael Crockett, president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism in a promotional video. “With each stroke, pedal and stride, the athletes will leave a legacy of excellence and determination for our next generation of athletes.”

Two people carry a paddle board to the water.
Beachgoers take in the sun at Britannia Beach over the Victoria Day long weekend. Photo by Aaron Reid.

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