“ How long is a triathlon ?” is one of the first questions on people’s minds when considering taking up this sport. Well, the answer is: it depends!
The beauty of triathlon is that there is a race for everyone – from a supersprint with the swim in a pool and the run only 2km for a beginner triathlete, through to the ultimate challenge of a 226 kilometre Ironman.
And no matter how fit (or unfit) you are, with a little training, you will be able to complete a race.
There are also variations on the traditional triathlon, including duathlons (run, bike, run), aquathlons (swim, run) and off-road triathlons - commonly called an Xterra - which involves swimming, mountain biking and trail running.
If you are the sort of person to get a bit obsessed with your times, then bear in mind that races are not always measured out to the exact distance.
This includes elite races – yes, sometimes those amazing 10k run times are too good to be true!
So there really is something for everyone. The standard triathlon and ironman distances are listed below.
|Kids of Steel||100–750 m||5–15 km||1–5 km||Distances vary with age of athlete.|
|Novice (Australia)||300 m||8 km||2 km||Distances vary, but this is a standard Novice distance course in Australia.|
|Super Sprint||400 m||10 km||2.5 km||Distances vary, but this is a standard Super Sprint course.|
|Novice (Europe)||400 m||20 km||5 km||Distances vary somewhat, but this is a standard novice/fitness distance course in Europe.|
|Sprint||750 m||20 km||5 km||For pool-based races a 500m swim is common.|
|Olympic||1.5 km||40 km||10 km||Also known as "international distance", "standard course", or "short course"|
|ITU-Long Distance (O2)||3.0 km||80 km||20 km||Double Olympic Distance|
|ITU-Long Distance (O3)||4.0 km||120 km||30 km||So-called triple Olympic Distance, distance of the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in 2008, originally the distance of the Nice (France) triathlon|
|Half||1.93 km||90 km||21.09 km||Also known as "middle distance", 70.3, or "half-ironman".|
|Full||3.86 km||180 km||42.2 km||Also known as "long distance" or "Ironman Triathlon".|
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