As most of you know already, the multi-sport of triathlon is the fastest growing sport in the USA, if not the entire world. Multi-sport simply put in triathlon context means swim, bike and run in that order. However, there are many events that run triathlons in reverse order, back-to-back etc. Further, many events are made up of only two of the three legs e.g. Aquathons where participants only swim and run (or ride) and duathlons where participants most often run, bike and run again.
In addition to the many different types of multi-sport events, there are many different distances in which triathletes compete.
Below are the most standard distances for triathlon events (from short- to long- course):
- Super Sprint Triathlons – the swim leg is typically .25 miles, the bike leg is 6.2 miles and the run is 1.5 miles. This distance is great for beginners and for seasoned triathletes alike.
- Sprint Triathlons – the swim leg is typically .5 miles, the bike leg is 12.4 miles and the run is 3.1 miles. This distance is ideal for triathletes training for Olympic- or longer- course triathlons.
- Olympic Triathlons (sometimes called International as well) – the officially recognized and standardized distance world-wide. Further, this is the distance that is used for the Olympic games, hence the name. A true Olympic distance event is a .9 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride followed by a 6.2 mile run.
- Half Ironman Triathlon (also known as 70.3 which stands for the total event mileage) – swimmers swim 1.2 miles, ride 56 miles on their bikes and finish with a half marathon (13.1 mile run).
- Full Ironman Triathlon (also known as 140.6 which again stands for the total event mileage) – beginning with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finishing with an entire marathon (26.2 mile run). Both the half- and full- ironman are also known as long course events where each leg has a certain cutoff time. The full ironman must be completed in 17 hours or less for example.