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photo of a cycling race

Rules and Description

Triathlon is a single-race event where athletes need to excel at three separate disciplines i.e. swimming, cycling and running.

There are no rests between each discipline, even though the triathlete enters a “transition period” where they get out of the water and don their helmet and shoes before the bike ride, and then after the bike ride and preparing to run.  In the swimming phase, triathlete wears a wetsuit and sometimes a swimming cap if the water temperature is below 20 degrees Celsius.

The winner it the first to cross the finishing line at the end of the run.

There are four types of triathlon:

  • Classic –  1.5km swim (0.9 mile), 40km bike (24.9 miles), and 10km run (6.2 miles). The official distance of the Olympic event.
  • Sprint: 0.5km to 0.75km swim (0.3 to 0.5 mile), 20km to 22km bike (12.4 to 13 miles), and 5km run (3.1 miles). Super sprints are slightly shorter races: 0.4km swim (0.25 mile), 10km bike (6.2 miles) and 2.5km run (1.5 miles). The sprint is the most popular distance in the sport.
  • Half Iron: 1.9km swim (1.2 miles), 90km bike (55.9 miles), and 21km run (13 miles). Half Iron events are far more challenging than the shorter distances and sometimes are used as qualifiers for Ironman triathlons. Don’t attempt a race at this distance until you’ve competed in sprint or Olympic events.
  • The ironman 3.8km swim (2.4 miles), 180km bike (111.8 miles), and 42km run (26.2 miles — a marathon). Each of the legs alone in this event challenges even the experienced endurance athlete.

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