Ironman Lake Placid Course Preview

Ironman Lake Placid (IMLP) is one of the oldest and most iconic courses on the Ironman circuit.


  • 2 loop swim course with a beach start and an Australian exit at the end of the first loop.
  • This race has always been wetsuit legal for age group athletes. (We recommend the Fjord 1.0 for IMLP)
  • Underwater cables assist with sighting, though they can be difficult to see on race day.
  • Front of the pace swimmers can expect to deal with congestion on their second loop due to the amount of time it takes to get all athletes started with a rolling start.
  • The run to T1 from the swim exit is lengthy, we recommend removing your wetsuit immediately once you are out of the water.

Ironman Lake Placid swim course preview deboer wetsuits Matt Russell


  • Challenging 2 loop bike course that is approximately 89km per loop.
  • The course has a number of long climbs that are not overly steep, but you will want to pace yourself, especially on the first loop.
  • There is an 8km descent to Keene.  If you are not a confident descender you should moderate your speed to stay in control.  The pavement conditions on the descent have improved considerably in the last 5 years, but there are sections where you will want to be careful.  Much of the descent can be taken in the aerobars if you are confident and have clear road in front of you.
  • The final 25k of each loop is uphill with very few reprieves.  This is an area where time is made or lost.  If you feel like you are working hard on your first lap you should back off, and you will appreciate saving that energy for your second lap.
  • The 'Three Bears' are 3 hills towards the end of the loop just before you turn off Hwy 86 that are notorious, but most of their challenge is simply that they come at the end of the loop when you may be tired.  You can expect great crowd support at the last of the Bears - Papa Bear.

Ironman Lake Placid IMLP bike course preview deboer wetsuits Matt Russell


  • Scenic but challenging 2 loop run course that is 21km per loop.
  • Each loop is downhill on the way out and uphill on the return leg.
  • There are two significant hills on the return leg.  The first you'll encounter is when you turn off Riverside Drive to Cascade Road, approaching the ski jumps.  The second, and even more challenging is when you return to town.  It begins running up Main Street, continues as you turn left to stay on Main Street (though at a lesser grade), and is still uphill as you turn right onto Mirror Lake Drive.  This area has the majority of spectators to help get you up the hills.
  • Approximately one-third of the run course offers shade, but those shaded areas will shift throughout the day.

Ironman Lake Placid IMLP Run course preview deboer wetsuits Matt Russell


  • It is common for the temperature to be very cool when the race starts.
  • The weather predictions in Lake Placid are notoriously unreliable, so you should be prepared for all weather conditions.
  • It typically gets very warm in the afternoon, and it can be very humid.

Ironman Lake Placid IMLP finish deboer wetsuits Mat Russell

Ironman Lake Placid is one of the oldest Ironman circuits on the calendar.  The history in the area, having hosted two Winter Olympic Games, makes it a special place for many athletes.  There are also numerous activities in the area to keep a family busy in the days leading up to the race, and on race day.