Triathlon is often viewed as a sport that involves a superhuman effort in completing three long-distance sports disciplines in immediate succession to each other, but did you know that there are many different race formats? There are even short distance events that can transform your first triathlon into an enjoyable experience?


Indeed, the many available triathlon distances make it possible to find something that will suit everyone: very short distances for starting triathlon and having an enjoyable experience without having to spend a lot of time training or longer distances for those who love their endurance sports. It is even possible to start triathlon at a very young age by joining a triathlon club and/or school. Children can sign up for "youth" events with distances tailored to them.


6-9 years: 50 m swim, 1 km cycle, 500 m run

8-11 years: 100 m swim, 2 km cycle, 1000 m run

10-13 years: 200 m swim, 4 km cycle, 1500 m run

12-19 years: 300 m swim, 6 km cycle, 2000 m run


XS distance (initiation): 400 m swim, 10 km cycle, 2.5 km run

S distance (Sprint): 750 m swim, 20 km cycle, 5 km run

M distance or SD (Short Distance): 1500 m swim, 40 km cycle, 10 km run

L distance: 3000 m swim, 80 km cycle, 20 km run

Half Ironman distance or 70.3 (total distance of the race in miles): 1900 m swim, 90 km cycle, 21 km run

XL distance or LD (Long Distance): 4000 m swim, 120 km cycle, 30 km run

XXL distance or Ironman: 3800 m swim, 180 km cycle, 42.195 km run

The M distance is also known as the Olympic distance, i.e. the standard triathlon race format. We had to wait until the year 2000 for the triathlon to be accepted as an Olympic sport at the Sydney Olympics. At the same time, many international competitions organised by the sports federations such as the World Championships (known as the WTS: World Triathlon Series) with the Sprint and Olympic race format, the long-distance triathlon world championships and the Triathlon World Cup, etc.

As for the paratriathlon, it was accepted as a Paralympic sport for the first time at the summer Paralympics of Rio in 2016.

The Holy Grail for many triathletes is the Ironman race format which has consequently become a brand that certifies 250 triathlon events throughout the world. The price for the initiation and sprint triathlon events is between €20 and €30, while the Olympic distance rarely exceeds €50. However, the half Ironman and Ironman race formats are much more expensive: between €80 and €250 for a half race format (or more if you sign up late) and between €400 and €500 for an Ironman (or more if you sign up at the last moment).


For those used to long distances seeking to take on a new challenge, extreme triathlons, like the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, have gradually come into existence. This is an event that takes place in Norway under fiendish conditions with a night start in the icy waters of the fjord, an extremely challenging cycle route with an elevation gain of 3360 m followed by a run in the mountains.

Finally, in order to ramp up the level of difficulty even further, there are ultra triathlons during which the participants complete several Ironman race formats one after the other!

As you can see, thanks to the many distance options available, the triathlon offers something for everyone to enjoy over the three disciplines completed in succession, whatever your preference or level of ability.

Source: FFTRI



Passionnée de sport, j’ai longtemps pratiqué la danse avant de découvrir le triathlon qui est devenu une vraie addiction dès ma première course ! Adepte des distances Sprint et Olympique, j’aime la variété qu’offre ce sport tant au niveau de sa pratique que de l’environnement dans lequel il me fait évoluer. Le triathlon c’est toujours de beaux défis en perspective avec beaucoup de plaisir à la clé !