Introduction to Triathlon distances and disciplines

24 Feb, 2019 • by Admin

Triathlon truly is a proud sport for all, an athletic contest consisting of three different events, typically swimming, cycling, and long-distance running.

Triathlons can be completed as an individual event, or a team event. Triathlons are organised through independent events organisers, state triathlon associations and clubs. They are run at local, state, national and international levels

One reason why Triathlon is so appealing to all is because of its unique “age group” concept that is built into the very fabric of the sport. All Triathlon events are traditionally divided into 5 year age categories, so you will take part in the same race as your friends, your colleagues and your family regardless of their age and ability.



The swim will take place in a swimming pool or open water, such as a lake or the sea, and if you’re taking part in an open water event you will need a wetsuit. Many local triathlon clubs have access to a lake where you can practice.

The swim start will be in waves, with times based on your predicted swim time or age. You can do either front crawl or breast stroke in the event, whichever you prefer.


Helmets are compulsory for all races; even the elite stars wear them.

A bike is an essential bit of kit, but as long as it's been serviced and road worthy you can use it. Most races are on roads open to other traffic. If you're nervous or new to cycling, it would be useful to practice riding your bike on quiet roads until you have built up your confidence.

The bike route on your race will be signposted and have officials to help direct you. However, it's always useful to check the competitor information to check the route before the race.


Shoes are the most important part of your running equipment, and it is worth making sure your trainers fit and are comfortable.

Running after the bike can be a little different, but don't panic; it will get easier as you continue to run. There are usually drinks stations on the run route, and again the route will be signposted and have officials.

If you need to improve your running your local triathlon club will have sessions and coaching available or try a GO TRI training session near you.


This is often called the fourth discipline in triathlon for those at the top of the sport. However for many people transition is simply where all your swim-to-bike and bike-to-run kit is kept during the race. You'll be given a race number which you'll need to wear on the bike and run, and sometimes a timing chip to time you from start to finish.

You'll need to rack your bike and layout your kit before the race starts.

Your helmet must be fastened before you move your bike and cannot be removed until the bike is racked again. Marshals and a official will be in transition and can answer any questions you might have.

Course Distances

TriStar, Youth and Junior Distances

  • TriStar Start (8 years old): 50m (swim), 800m (grass cycle), 600m (run)
  • TriStar 1 (9-10 years old): 150m (swim), 2km (grass cycle), 1,200m (run)
  • TriStar 2 (11-12 years old): 200m (swim), 4km (grass cycle), 1,800m (run)
  • TriStar 3 (13-14 years old): 300m (swim), 6km (grass cycle), 2,400m (run)
  • Youth (15-16 years old) can compete up to sprint distance: 400m (swim), 10km (bike), 2.5km (run)
  • Junior (17-18 years old) can compete up to standard distance: 1500m (swim), 40km (bike), 10km (run)
  • Junior (19 years old) can compete up to middle distance: 1.9km (swim), 90km (bike), 21km (run)

Adult Distances

  • Super sprint distance: 400m (swim), 10km (bike), 2.5km (run)
  • Sprint distance: 750m (swim), 20km (bike), 5km (run)
  • Standard (Olympic) distance: 1500m (swim), 40km (bike), 10km (run)
  • 70.3/middle/half-Ironman distance: 1.9km (swim), 90km (bike), 21km (run)
  • Full/long/Ironman distance: 3.8km (swim), 180km (bike), 42km (run) - Ironman is a long-distance triathlon organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC).


  • Sprint duathlon distance: 5km (run), 20km (bike), 2.5km (run)
  • Standard duathlon distance: 10km (run), 40km (bike), 5km (run)


  • Pool-based aquathlon distance: 400m (swim), 5km (run)
  • Open water aquathlon distance: 750m (swim), 5km (run)
  • Open water aqauthlon long distance: 1.5km (swim), 10km (run)


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