What is triathlon?
Triathlon is a multi-sport consisting of swimming, followed by cycling, followed by running. Races are continuous with no break between the three disciplines.
The standard distance (commonly referred to as Olympic distance) is 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run but there are events many other distances from super sprint (around 200m swim, 5km bike, 1500m run) to long distance (3800m swim, 112mile bike, 26.2mile run).
The swim section can be held in a pool or open-water, the bike on roads or trails (for off-road triathlons) and the run on roads or trails.
Elite triathletes are professionals who compete at international level.
Age-Group triathletes are non-professionals, who may also compete at international and domestic level in their own age category (age categories cover five-year bands).
At elite level, the cycle section of the race is draft legal (ie competitors can slipstream each other) whereas at most age group events, competitors must not draft during the cycle.
Triathlon and duathlon World Championships have Age-Group categories as well as elite categories.
There are a variety of accepted triathlon race distances:
- Super sprint: 300m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run
- Novice: 400m swim, 20km bike, 5k run
- Sprint distance: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
- Standard (Olympic) distance: 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
- 70.3/half-Ironman distance: 1.9km swim, 90m bike, 21km run
- ITU long distance O2: 3km swim, 80km bike, 20km run. Double Olympic-distance.
- ITU long distance O3: 4km swim, 120km bike, 30km run. Triple Olympic distance.
- Full/long/Ironman distance: 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run. Ironman is a long-distance triathlon organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC).