How long is a triathlon run is a fairly common question asked by people new to the sport
There was a time not that long ago when there was basically only one triathlon distance.
Of course that was the Ironman Triathlon that was born in the late 1970’s in Hawaii. A few smaller triathlons sprung up in the early years but they were basically local events.
There was no internet and really no way other than word of mouth to get the word out on these shorter triathlons that appeared in the early days.
Also, there was no set distance for them and the length of the swim, bike, and run was whatever the race directors decided to make them.
However the Ironman distance was pretty much set in stone from almost the beginning.
THE IRONMAN TRIATHLON
The original Ironman swim was a rough-water 3.8km(2.4-miles) course and that distance has not changed over the years and is still the official Ironman swim distance in any WTC Ironman race in the world.
The original bike was around the island of Oahu and the distance which was actually about 183-184k(115-miles) was eventually changed to 180k (112 miles) for the Ironman. It is actually the only distance that changed from those early days.
The run for that first Ironman was actually the Honolulu Marathon and of course it was 42k (26.2-miles) and that is the official run distance of any Ironman race in the world.
Over the years many more small races began to pop up and today pretty much any major city in North America(and much of Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand)have triathlons of varying distances.
This race for beginners goes by several different names, but basically it is just what it says in this name.
It’s an opportunity for those who are developing an interest in triathlon to give a try. The swim is pretty much always in a pool as many new triathletes are new to swimming and are not ready to take on the open water.
The bike and run courses are almost always quite short and the distance varies depending on the race organizers. These early triathlons are one of the few that do not have set distances.
The object is to have fun, experience triathlon, and learn how the transitions work and then from there move up to longer races if your find that you really like the sport.
How long is a triathlon run for these beginner races? The run distances for these races are normally not much more than a few miles.
A sprint triathlon increases in distance compared to a try-a-tri. As a rule the swim is 500 meters, the bike 20k, and the run 5k.
That has pretty much become the standard distance for a Sprint Triathlon, however there are instances where these distances might vary a little.
It’s not really until you get to the Olympic Triathlon where the length of the swim, bike, and run become standard.
THE OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON
The Olympic Distance is a set distance and normally the 1500 meter swim takes place in the open water.
The bike leg is 40k and the run is 10k.
Whether the race takes place in the Olympic Games or in your city, if it’s called an Olympic Distance race, then the distances are the same no matter where the race takes place.
Once you get to the Olympic Distance you are really beginning to test your endurance and this race is the stepping stone to the longer more challenging Half-Ironman and full Ironman races.
HALF IRONMAN TRIATHLON
The Half-Ironman Triathlon is just that. It’s half the distances of the full Ironman.
The swim is 1.9k(1.2 miles), the bike is 90k(66-miles), and the run is 21k(13.1-miles).
Many triathletes will progress from the shorter races to the longer races as they prepare to take on the Ironman.
Some will skip all the shorter races and just take on the Ironman Challenge.
It’s really up to the individual and how much skill you have in the swim, bike, and run when your triathlon career begins.
Many marathoners will go straight into the Ironman because they already have an endurance base from their running career.
Learning to swim is often the biggest stumbling block for many people who want to take a shot at the Ironman.
So how long is a triathlon run?
TRY-A-TRI- Varies from race to race but normally under 5k. SPRINT DISTANCE TRIATHLON- As a rule it's 5k, but can vary depending on the race organizers. OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON- The run is a standard distance of 10k. HALF-IRONMAN TRIATHLON- The run is 21k or half the distance of a full marathon. IRONMAN TRIATHLON- The run portion of the Ironman is the full marathon distance of 42k(26.2-miles)
Keep in mind that there are many races that are not under the WTC(World Triathlon Corporation)banner that have varied run distances.