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). 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 a five-year band).
At Elite level, the cycle section of the race is draft legal (ie competitors can slipstream each other) whereas at age group level, competitors must not draft during the cycle.
Triathlon and duathlon World Championships have an age group category as well as an elite category. Great Britain can enter 20 women and 20 men in each Age Group (for a total of over 300 competitors).
There are a variety of accepted triathlon race distances:
- Super sprint: 400m (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).