FEATURE SPORT BEST OF THREE SO WHAT ARE YOUR ENDURANCE LIMITS? YOU’LL NEVER KNOW ’TIL YOU TRIATHLON. T he first triathlon event on record was a swim-run-bike held near Paris, France, in 1920. Comprising a 3km run, a 12km bike ride and a swim across the River Marne, it was called Le Trois Sports and it caught on, with many similar events recorded until, in 1974, the first modern swim/bike/run event to be called a ‘triathlon’ was held at San Diego, California. Fast forward another three years and the modern Ironman (see below) was born on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, allegedly created to settle a debate about whether runners, swimmers or cyclists were the fittest. In Australia, triathlon season goes on all year round but it’s in late spring that things start to ramp up. If you’re thinking about tri-ing your luck, you’ll need to work out what category you’re fit for: 1 SUPER SPRINT swim 300m – bike 10km – run 2.5km (you can walk if you want to) The Super Sprint distance (aka the Enticer or the Novice) is fast becoming one of the most popular distances to race. Known as the ‘can do’ triathlon, it gives you a chance to experience the thrill of racing in a supportive atmosphere and the joy that comes with nailing a personal goal. 42 GEMCELL.COM.AU OCT – NOV 2018 TRY IT: Wollongong Triathlon Festival Try a Tri, April 13, 2019. This mini race is free for very first timers and puts the focus on participation, not competition. You can even wear flippers for the swim. 2 SPRINT swim 750m – bike 20km – run 5km The sprint triathlon, also known as the Mini, is the baby of the bunch (Super sprint notwithstanding) and can vary a little in distance. It’s designed to accommodate sprint specialists or beginner triathletes who want a stepping stone to the longer distances. A moderately fit person should be ready to compete after about eight weeks’ training. TRY IT: Gold Coast (Qld) Triathlon, 2019 TBD. One of Australia’s most iconic races on the triathlon calendar, this is run in memory of talented young triathlete Luke Harrop, who was killed on a Gold Coast training ride in 2002. 3 STANDARD swim 1.5km – bike 40km – run 10km This is what most people mean when they say ‘triathlon’. It also goes by ‘Olympic’, or ‘Classic’. As with all triathlon events, competitors are divided into five-year age groups for grading purposes but everyone takes part in the same event, regardless of age and ability. TRY IT: Noosa (Qld) Triathlon, November 4, 2018. This is the largest Olympic triathlon on the planet and athletes come from across it to compete on one of the most stunning courses in Australia. A five-day festival leads up to the main event.