UK Triathlon events are for you!

A triathlon consists of a swim, bike and run, and at all our events you can take part as an individual or as part of a team.

We provide great events for all abilities, from complete first timers to the experienced triathlete.

Our “Fun” or “Sprint” distance triathlons are very popular for first timers because the distances are really achievable.

All our triathlons take place at a range of venues across the country that includes indoor pool, outdoor pool, sea and lake swims, easy, yet achievable bike courses, as well as a range of good flat run courses.

Our events are open to everyone, whether you would like to take part for a charity, or it’s a personal challenge, you may want to lose weight, or just simply get fit.

All our triathlons guarantee a fun and friendly atmosphere whether you’re taking part or spectating.

We, at UK Triathlon, want to encourage everyone to experience the wonderful world of triathlon.

As well as great atmosphere at all our events, they are also very rewarding for everyone, especially when you cross the finish line and get that all important “finishers” medal.

 

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We've put together some of the most frequently asked questions to help you get involved in Triathlon.


What happens once I have entered, whether it’s online or over the phone?

Once you have entered one of our events, the following will happen:

You will receive a notification saying you have entered with some general information.

You will then receive emails on the run up to your event.

Approximately 10 days before your event you will be sent, via email, your competitors race notes.

Within those race notes will be all the information you will need to know about your event, from start times, to race number, to registration to course logistics. 

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Where do I put my bike when I am swimming or running?

Your cycle will be racked in the cycle transition area before you start the event.

 

What is the cycle transition area?

The cycle transition area is where your cycle is kept whilst you are swimming/running. There will space in there for you to  rack your cycle. There is also space for you to leave a bag (ideal for putting goggles or wet swim towel).

 

Can anyone go in the transition area?

No. For safety & security reasons only competitors are allowed to go in to the cycle transition area. 

 

How secure is the transition area?

To get in & out of the transition area with your cycle you must show the security personnel at the transition exit/entrance the following before they will allow you to enter or leave the area with a bike

  • Cycle stickers (Stuck on the handle bars and cycle frame)

  • Matching Race Number

  • Matching Race Tattoos (arm & leg)

  • Matching Helmet stickers

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What do I need for a pool based triathlon?

  • For the swim section you will need, either a swimming costume, swim shorts or trunks.

  • Swimming goggles (recommended but they are optional)

  • A road worthy bike

  • Cycle Helmet (for safety reasons every triathlon in the world you would have to wear a cycle helmet)

  • Trainers

What should I wear for a pool based triathlon?

  • Swimming costume, swim shorts or trunks 

  • Swimming goggles (recommended but they are optional)

  • Shorts/running leggings or a trisuit (see what is a trisuit)

  • T-shirt or running vest 

  • Cycle helmet (compulsory)

  • Trainers

  • Light weight jacket (for the cycle leg if the weather isn’t too good, we all know how unpredictable the British weather can be)

 

For extras, you could bring a towel to dry yourself off before you get onto your bike.

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How does the swim section actually work at a pool based triathlon?

Because you're swimming in a pool, you get to swim at your own pace, this making sure you're not intimidated with other swimmers.

Everyone is given an individual start time based on their swimming ability.

What you will need to do, is go down your local pool and time yourself over the distance you have chosen (it could be a 500m, 400m or a 200m swim), this way we will try to make sure you are swimming alongside other swimmers of similar or the same ability, reducing the need to overtake or undertake in the pool.

As long as you let us have your estimated swim time (last chance to send it to us would be about four weeks before your triathlon) you will be in the pool with other swimmers of the same ability.

  

What is the Race Safety Brief?

The Race Safety Brief is a great verbal breakdown of how your triathlon will work; it’s there for you to understand the course, to see if anything has changed and for you to ask any final questions before you get into the pool.

We ask for you to be at the pool side a full 15 minutes before your individual start time, so you can listen to the full Race Safety Brief.

The whole course will be broken down for you, from the swimming format, to the safety on the bike course and then the logistics of the run course.

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What do I do once I have had my race safety brief?

Once you have been given your safety brief you are then lined up in race number order (this will work with your swim time).

When it is your turn to start, the swim starter will instruct you to get in the pool and proceed to give you a countdown and say "GO!" and you're off!

 

Do I have to wear a swim cap?

Yes you do have to wear a swim cap; this is for safety reasons so everyone can be seen in the pool.

You will be given your swim cap at the Race Safety Brief, if you have your own swim cap, that isn’t a problem, of course you can wear it.

 

How will I know how many lengths to swim?

Don’t worry if you are unsure of how many lengths you need to swim, the race brief will inform you of this and the format of the swim too.

A good tip here, when you're waiting for your start and you're queuing alongside the pool, have a good luck what everyone else is doing in the pool, that will make it a lot easier for you.

When you have completed the right amount of lengths in the swim lane, you will need to go under the lane rope and continue this process until you have completed the desired amount of lengths.

In all our pool based swims you will never do more than four lengths in one lane if you are doing a Sprint distance, if you're taking part in the Fun distance or Super Sprint, then you will only be doing a maximum of two lengths per lane.

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What do I need for an open water triathlon? (Lake/Sea)

  • Swimming costume, swim shorts, wetsuit (depending on what distance you're doing), trunks or a trisuit

  • Swimming goggles (recommended but they are optional)

  • Road worthy bike

  • Cycle helmet (compulsory)

  • Trainers 

 

Do I need a wetsuit for an open water triathlon? (Lake or Sea)

If you are taking part in one of our Olympic, Olympic Relay, Ultimate, Ultimate Half and Ultimate One triathlons, then, YES wetsuits are compulsory.

For all our Fun, Super Sprint, Sprint Relay distances, No, a wetsuit is not compulsory, however if you wish to wear one for these distances then that isn’t a problem.

 

How does the swim section work for open water triathlons?

We start everyone off in the water. All the Fun entrants go off together (this is called a wave) along with all the Super Sprint entrants. At some open water events the waves are broken down further into the following

  • All Fun

  • All Super Sprint

  • Sprint Female

  • Sprint Male

  • Olympic Female

  • Olympic Male

The reason we break the waves down into smaller groups is to prevent overcrowding during the swim.

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We ask for you to be at the swim start a full 15-20 minutes before your wave start time, so you can listen to the full Race Safety Brief.

Once you have been given your Race Safety Brief you should then be allowed to get into the water, this will get you ready for your swim and to climatise to the water.

Depending on your swimming strength be careful where you start, if you are a strong swimmer then get to the front, if you're not so strong then find space in the water further back so you can swim at your own pace.

The race starter will instruct you to gather between the swim start buoys, once the air horn blasts, you start your swim.

When you have completed the right amount of laps for your swim course you make your way to the swim exit (this will be clearly marked) Don't worry if you are unsure of how many laps you need to do the race brief will inform you of this.

The swim course will be marked out with buoys, this will be on our website, in your competitor race notes and during your race brief you will be told which way the course goes.

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Do I have to wear a cycle helmet?

You must wear a cycle helmet during the bike section of a triathlon as it is compulsory!

NO helmet, NO triathlon, so make sure your helmet is comfortable and tight fitting.

 

Do I need a special type of bike?

You can use any bike as long as it is road worthy. 

IMPORTANT! Make sure the brakes on your bike work well and make sure you look at the tyres and test to see if they are rock hard.

A top tip here is, the higher the pressure in your tyres the more likely you are to avoid punctures and the faster you will go due to less rolling resistance.

We would recommend you get your bike serviced before your triathlon to make sure your brakes and gears are working correctly.

 

I see other competitors with special shoes on their bikes; do I have to have those on my bike?

No you don’t, it is not essential to have proper cycle shoes with special pedals at all, as you get into triathlon a little more seriously they will help your speed immensely. However, if you are not used to them they can seem tricky at first. My advice is you get toe cages for your pedals and cycle in trainers. This way you will be able to get your feet in and out easily and have the ability to go harder up any hills. If you don’t have any of those things, don’t worry, there are 100’s of people taking part in our events who just have pedals on their bike.

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I see other competitors wearing tri-suits; do I need one?

No you don’t. A tri-suit can be worn for the whole triathlon i.e. you can swim, bike and run in one, however, most first timers opt for utilising what they already have so complete the swim in a costume/trunks and then change into shorts & T-shirt or similar for the bike and run sections. Whatever you choose to wear for the bike/run will be left with your bike & helmet at bike transition.

What are the distances?

The distances vary depending on which event/venue you choose. Please see below;

   Swim  Bike  Run
The Pink Wave 200m 9-20km 2.5km 
 Fun/Super Sprint 200m 9-20km 2.5km 
 Sprint  400-750m 18-25km  5km 
 Olympic & Relay     1500m  40km  10km 

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What happens on the day?

Please click here for our step by step guide on what happens on the day…

How do I receive my race number?

We will email you your Competitor Race Day Information pack roughly 7-10 days before your event. This email will tell you what race number you have been assigned and where you need to go to collect it.

 

What is in "The Competitor Race Day Information email"?

  • Your start time

  • What your race number will be

  • Information on where you go to collect your Race Number & Timing Chip

  • Course Maps

  • All info regarding amount of laps for your swim, bike and run

  • Registration times

  • Transition times

  • Venue directions and postcode etc

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Can I enter a relay team?

Yes, all you need is enough people to cover the swim, the cycle and the run.

Taking part in a really team is so rewarding, it also means if you're not comfortable swimming, cycling or running but still want to take part in a triathlon its ideal for you to take part with friends and family, plus you all still get a medal when you cross the finish line.

 

How do you do the triathlon as a Relay Team?

One person does the swim section and then hands the timing chip to the cyclist (who will be waiting in the transition area). Once the cyclist has completed the cycle leg, the cyclist then gives the timing chip to the runner. The runner does the run section and finishes.

 

Can relay teams be mixed gender?

Yes, not a problem at all. Your relay team can be made up anyway you chose to take part with.

 

Can we do the relay with only 2 people?

Absolutely, not a problem at all. We have lots of people taking part in teams of two or three.

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Fundraising online

If you have decided to raise money for one of our charities or one of your own, here are some useful tips on how to get started.

Whatever inspires you, tell everyone you know. Your friends, your family, your colleagues. An online fundraising page is the easiest way.

  • It's quick to set up and simple to use
  • You can fundraise on your own or as part of a group
  • Your friends and family can sponsor you easily
  • You can keep track of donations
  • No need to use a sponsorship form
Here are a few links to online fundraising sites.

JustGiving
GoFundMe
KindLink
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Frequently asked questions about Registration and how it works.

What times does registration open?

Registration will be open on the Saturday before your event and early Sunday morning (except The South Coast Triathlon, which is Friday and early Saturday morning).

All registration opening times will be in your competitor race notes.

All events have different opening times so make sure you the check times in your competitor race notes.

 

Where do I need to go first on race day?

Registration will be on the main arena field at all our events.

Look out for the Mornflake bright orange marque, that’s where registration will be. If you haven’t registered the day before then you need to look for the Mornflake marque on arrival.

At registration you will be giving everything you need to take part in your event, if you need to ask any questions then registration is the perfect place.

 

What do I get in my race envelope?

Your race envelope will be picked up when you go to register at the venue for your event (nothing will be sent to you through the post).

The content of your race envelope will be (this is also in your competitor race notes):

  • Race numbers

  • Safety pins

  • Bike stickers (see what are bike and helmet stickers)

  • Helmet stickers (see what are bike and helmet stickers)

  • Arm tattoos (see what is an arm tattoo)

 

What is an arm tattoo and how do I apply it?

The arm tattoo is there for safety, security and identification.

To apply your arm tattoo to your arm you need to:

Carefully read the instructions on the back of the tattoo.

Read the instructions in your race notes (these are the same as on the back of your tattoo).

Read the instructions on the pull up banner at registration.

If you are still not sure, then ask at registration, there are always there to help you.

Your arm tattoo needs to be completely visible; the best place to apply it is to the bicep area of the upper arm.

 

What are bike and helmet stickers and how do I apply them?

Like the arm tattoo the bike and helmet stickers are there for your safety, security and identification throughout your event.

There will be two bike stickers, one for the front of your handle bars and the other to go onto the seat stem of your bike.

Your helmet sticker needs to go onto the front of your helmet.

 

When do I need to put the stickers on my bike and helmet?

Once you have registered, then they all need to be applied almost straight away.

You CANNOT go into the cycle transition area without your bike or helmet stickers being applied, this is for security reasons.

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Quick Links

Pool Based Events FAQ'S

Lake/Sea Based Events FAQ'S

Event Day Registration

Relay Teams FAQ'S

Distances

Transtion area FAQ'S

Pink Wave Events

Training Tips

Fundraising

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Feedback

Perfect Event for a first Triathlon - Cheshire - Couldn't imagine a better event for a triathlon newbie, despite being a slightly complicated (for a first timer) split transition. Great routes, brilliantly organised by UK triathlon, whose team was incredibly friendly, helpful and fun...I feel like I was welcomed into a family today. Definitely been bitten by the tri bug and that's in no small part due to a fabulous first experience with UK Triathlon. See you in September guys!!!! Nikki Girvan

 First triathlon and I loved it - York - This was my first triathlon and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, competitors and staff alike. Great course and lots of spectators to cheer me along. Great organisation and layout to make sure I didn't go the wrong way. Kay Grenfell

I'll be back! – Henley-on-Thames - Friendly, well-organised event. Enjoyed it this year as much as when a first-timer six years ago. I'll be back next year to knock off the 35 seconds to get me down to 1 hour! Dianne Cole