What is Triathlon?

Credits go to the San Diego Track Club which in 1974 held the world's first triathlon event on Fiesta Island, a stretch of sand located at the east end of San Diego's Mission Bay.

Triathlon best describes an event comprised of three athletic disciplines all rolled into one. The founders of the sport could have taken three of the track & field events which make up the pentathlon, heptathlon or decathlon. That would have been too conventional. Instead of throwing a javelin, running 400 meters and finally doing the long jump, the San Diego Track Club chose to test upper and lower body strengths differently through long distance swimming, biking and running. 

SWIM - For many people this is the most daunting bit, since most triathlons are held in open water where visibility is often poor, there are no black lines along the bottom and close-quarters swimming can be terrifying. Longer-distance swims can result in huge losses in body heat and purpose-made wetsuits are now common. The best swimmers complain that the swim element of the overall distance is too short, since they are invariably caught by the rest of the field as the race goes on.  

BIKE - The great thing about riding a bike is that it's fun! Well, we remember it that way since we werekids, right? But training for a specific distance is somehow not the same. Most of us survive - even enjoy - our first triathlon riding the kind of machine we would have ridden at college, or even a mountain bike. But swapping that comfort for the speed and lightweight features of road racing tyres has its cost. A literal pain in the bum. Most often-heard muttering after a 7-hour bike leg for one's first Ironman "Keep the damn thing - I don't ever want to see it again!”"  

RUN - That most natural form of human motion, running, turns into a real challenge in the triathlon. Why? Because even the best runners never forget that awful trussed-up like a turkey feeling in their quads when they finally get to dismount the bike and begin running. "What happened to my legs?" And you know what? They spend the rest of their training days trying to find the answer.  

THE DISTANCES – The race distances of triathlon including Junior Triathlon, Sprint Distance, Olympic Distance, Long Course, Ironman Distance.  Another sport derived from triathlon is Aquathon and Duathlon.  

Distance
Swim
Bike
Run
Tri-kids (Junior Triathlon)
100-400m
4-12km
0.8-4km
Sprint Distance 750m 20km 5km
Olympic Distance 1500m 40km 10km
Long Course 2.5km 120km 30km
Ironman 3.8km 180km 42.195km
Aquathon The sport of aquathlon consists of a continuous, two or three stages race involving swimming followed by running, or a running leg followed by a swimming leg and then another running  leg.  There are not standard race distance for aquathon.
Duathlon The sport of Duathlon consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg.   There are not standard race distance for duathlon

Did I say 'finally'? Well, for souls whose cathartic ambitions require still further mental pain, there is of course the Deca-Ironman, which simply multiplies the Ironman distance by ten.

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