Triathlon can’t have escaped your attention. According to the sport’s official body British Triathlon, it’s the fastest growing sport in the UK right now, with race participation increasing more than 300% in the last five years. A triathlon is a multi-sport challenge consisting of swimming, followed by cycling, followed by running. Races are continuous with no break between the three disciplines. The first recorded triathlon took place in San Diego way back in September 1974, while the first triathlon on British soil took place in 1983.
Whilst triathlons come in many shapes andsizes, it’s widely agreed that there are three main distances. The ‘sprint’ distance features a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run. The ‘standard’ or Olympic distance includes a 1500m swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run. And if that’s not tough enough for you, there’s always an Ironman triathlon. That’s a 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle and a 42km run. Yes, consecutively.
Getting triathlon ready is not for the fainthearted. A solid fitness base, focused determination and a fair amount of time are just a few prerequisites for any wanna-be triathlete. You’ll also need a descent bike, somewhere to swim and a good pair of running shoes and often, these things don’t come cheap. So where has the new popularity come from?
The sport was given a major boost in 2012 when British Olympic triathletes (and former Source Magazine cover stars) Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee won gold and bronze medals in London. The brothers continue to be at the very top of their game and both were pre-selected to represent Team GB in Rio this summer. And then there’s the female triathletes, blazing a trail across the World Triathlon Series and becoming role models for the ‘fit not thin’ campaign. These girls are strong, they’re determined and they’re very accessible via their social media channels.
Triathlon is also the perfect workout programme, strengthening and conditioning the whole body. Swimming and cycling burn as many as 700 calories each, while running can burn up to 900 calories, all the while toning legs, arms and your upper body. No wonder tri suits are so tight – who wouldn’t want to show off those lean muscles.
Or perhaps it’s the staggering number of new triathlon events popping up across the UK and also in the Alps. Last summer we saw the Evergreen Endurance launch on the shores of Lake Montriond, a race which this year offers three different options; the grueling Evergreen 228 (4km swim, 181km cycle and 43km run), the challenging Evergreen 118 (2km swim, 95km cycle and 21km run) or the more accessible Evergreen 58 (1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 12.5km run). Along with it’s strong eco credentials, we expect to see the Evergreen Endurance grown into a huge event over coming years.
Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz provide the perfect natural training ground for triathlon training camps. And while you’ll see many a pro triathlete lapping Morzine’s outdoor pool at 7am or making easy work of the hairpins on the Route de Avoriaz on their bike, tri-camps are usually made up of amateur athletes, combining their love for their sport with the stunning scenery and fresh air on offer in the Alps.
At this summer’s Rio Olympics, triathlon is scheduled to take place between 18th and 30th August. Fifty-five athletes will compete in each of the men’s and women’s events, with the spectacular Fort Copacabana as a backdrop. Representing Team GB at Rio ’16 in triathlon are Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Vicky Holland, Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins.
visit evergreen-endurance.com for more details on the next event, taking place between Montriond and Chamonix on 10th and 11th September
buzzperformance.com offer structured triathlon training and coaching sessions in Morzine
britishtriathlon.org is where you’ll find information on events taking place in your area