Home hero: Tyler Butterfield is a top-class Ironman. *File photo by Nils Nilson
Home hero: Tyler Butterfield is a top-class Ironman. *File photo by Nils Nilson

I told someone recently that a triathlete was coming, to stay to which he replied: “Is that where you bike, swim and then kayak?”

So, I decided that one of my first columns should answer the question: exactly what is triathlon?

Triathlon consists of a swim, bike and run with your final time taken when you have completed all three.

Because the clock keeps ticking whilst you change from the swim to bike and bike to run (known as transitions one and two), experienced triathletes make  quick changeovers in the designated transition area.

They wear a one-piece lycra suit for the whole event (one of the appeals of triathlon to some!).

This suit, and other innovations, all help save time.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) recognizes four standard distances. These are:

Sprint (750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run).

• Olympic (1,500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run).

• 70.3 or half ironman (1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run).

• Ironman (3.8km swim, 180.2km bike, 42.2km run).

To encourage newbies  triathlon has embraced the “super sprint”, typically a 200m swim, 10km bike and 2km run, which is roughly the distance for Bermuda’s Summer Series on Thursday evenings. 

These events attract people who don’t have fancy road bikes and prefer a few leisurely walks on the run. More information on this can be found at www.bta.bm.

The biggest events of the year are the World Series for professionals, which includes the World Championships itself and the 70.3 and Ironman World Championships. 

The Ironman World Championships which takes place in Kona, Hawai’i each year is the most iconic triathlon and this year, Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield finished an impressive seventh.

A great feature of triathlon is that professionals race at the same events and very often on the same course as amateurs, most notably at the World Championships. 

Age-groupers, many from Bermuda as in London this year, gather at these championships annually to compete in age groups from 16-19, 20-24, 25-29 all the way up to 80+.

So, there you have it in a nutshell; get your bike and lycra out and sign up for the TriNewbies camp in January at www.bta.bm