triathlonA triathlon is a competition that includes a combination of three different sports. The typical triathlon will have swimming, cycling and running event in succession over various distances. It is designed to test the endurance of the participants.

The Governing Body of Triathlon is the International Triathlon Union (ITU). Founded in Aviagon, France the ITU consists of over 100 member National Federations throughout the world, of which India is a member.


Triathlon is believed to have its roots in France in the 1920s. Competitors participated in a race called “Les trois sports” which consisted of a 3K run, a 12K bike ride and swimming across the channel Marne. The events were done without any break. In 1921, an event was held in Marseilles in the order of bike-run-swim. In 1934, the race consisted of crossing a 200 m channel, a 10K bike ride and a 1200 meter run.

The first modern swim/bike/run event was held at Mission Bay, San Diego in California on September 25, 1974. It was organised by the members of San Diego track club. Triathlon was introduced to Olympic Games in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. The event consisted of 1500 m swim, 40 km bike ride and 10 km run.

Many variations of the game exists that can be done as an individual or part of a team. Triathlon vary in distance. Some of them are Sprint: 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run; Olympic:1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run; Half Ironman(70.3): 1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21.1k run; Ironman(140.6): 3.8k swim, 180.2k bike, 42.2k run. Sprint races can vary in swim distances. Some of the nonstandard variations of the game are :aquathlon: swimming and running; duathlon: cycling and running; indoor triathlon: pool swim, stationary bike, and indoor track or treadmill run; cross triathlon: swimming, mountain biking and trail running; ultraman triathlon: an Ultra-long distance three-day triathlon covering 510 km in separate stages.

 In a triathlon the athlete has to register and sign up in advance of the actual race. After registration the racers are provided a race number, colored swim cap and a timing band. Before the start of competition, athletes will be provided with a bike rack to hold their bicycle and a small section of ground space for shoes, clothing, etc. in the transition area. There will either be one or two areas, depending on if the triathlon is an out-and-back or a point-to-point style race.

Swimming: Majority of triathlons involve open-water swim stages The swimming is done around a series of marked buoys. Open-water swims need raising the head to look for landmarks or buoys that mark the course. Triathletes often use legs less vigorously as much of leg power is needed for cycling and running. Athletes exit the water near the transition area.

First transition(T1): During T1 athletes remove their swimsuit, cap, and goggles and put on a helmet and cycling shoes.

Cycling: The cycling stage proceeds around a marked course, typically on public roads. In many cases roads are not closed to automobiles. Traffic coordinators are often present to help control traffic. Mounting bicycles without a properly secured helmet results in a penalty or even disqualification. The cycling stage finishes back at the same transition area.

Second transition(T2): Racers enter the transition area, rack their bicycles, and quickly change into running shoes before heading out for the running stage. All participants must return their bicycles to an upright position in the properly designated slot.

Running: Having done swimming and cycling for an extended period of time, muscles are tired and the athletes run at a slower pace. The running stage usually ends at a separate finish line near the transition area.

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