5 Spectacular Triathlon Lengths

NameSwim – LengthBike – LengthRun – Length
Full (226)3.8 km 2.36 mi180 km 111.8 mi42.2 km 26.2 mi
Half (113) /70.31.9 km 1.18 mi90 km 55.92 mi21.09 km 13.1 mi
ITU Long Distance3 km 1.86 mi80 km 49.71 mi20 km 12.43 mi
Olympic 51501.5 km 0.93 mi40 km 24.85 mi10 km 6.21 mi
Sprint0.75 km 0.47 mi20 km 12.43 mi5 km 3.11 mi

The graph above lists the general triathlon length for each race distance.  There are variations of each length.  There Full or Ironman triathlons that are much longer in length.  The Sprint length also varies in distances.  The ITU Long Distance, Half, and Olympic lengths are generally within the lengths stated in the chart.  Some race coordinators will cancel some sections of the race due to weather or water conditions.   

Full – Ironman – 226 Triathlon Length

A full triathlon length swim is 3.8 km, the bike is 180 km, and the run is 42.2 km. The Full Triathlon is generally the longest triathlon race you can participate in. Depending on your training background, it takes years to be fit enough to participate in one of these races. I have been racing for about a year and a half, and I don’t plan on doing the full triathlon for at least another few years. This a spectacular and difficult triathlon distance. The pros will finish the race within 8 to 10 hours. Non-pro triathletes, called age-group triathletes, will finish within 9 to 18 hours.

Anything longer than the full distance are considered to do be extreme races. The Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon is quite a bit longer for the bike length and the run length.

Many consider the full length to just be called an Ironman distance. Ironman is name brand of Triathlons. But, there are few organizations that also hold races at this distance. One of the largest is the Challenge Series Triathlon. These triathlon businesses usually have multiple triathlon distances at a single event. Challenge often has a full, half, and Olympic triathlon on the same weekend.

Half – 70.3 – 113 Triathlon Length

The half triathlon length swim is 1.9 km, the bike length is 90 km, and the run length is 21.09 km. Even though this race is half the length of the full triathlon, it is still a tough race. Depending on your training background it can take up to 1 year to prepare for your first one.

This is usually a race the people use to build experience for the full triathlon. For many triathletes though, this is the longest race they will ever do. It is a little faster than the full triathlon length. Pros will finish within 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Age-group triathletes will finish the race within 4 to 8 hours.

ITU Long Distance Triathlon Length

The ITU Long Distance Triathlon length is a 3 km swim length, a 80 – 120 km bike length, and a 20 – 30 km run length. ITU stands for International Triathlon Union.

The ITU It is the governing organization for Olympic and international triathletes who wish to compete for their country. They also provide international race rules and regulations for pro and amateur triathletes.

This triathlon length is just between a half and a full. I state the shortest general distance for the race, because the triathlon lengths are different for each race.

These races are generally well know for watching the pros show off their elite prowess, but they are also well attended by age group athletes from all over the globe. These events are well organized and are interesting to watch.

Olympic 5150 Triathlon Length

The Olympic or 5150 triathlon length is a 1.5 km swim length, a 40 km bike length, and a 10 km run length. As the name implies, this is the triathlon length that Triathlon Olympians race. Pro athletes will complete this race within 1 hr 45 mins – 2 hrs 20 mins. Age-group athletes will complete this race within 1 hr 55 mins – 4 hrs.

Though Olympic length triathlon is one of the shortest triathlon distances, it is still a challenge. You will often see top athletes collapsing at the finish line due to exhaustion or even heat stroke. It is a fast race. Many of the pro triathletes for this length swim, bike, and run at paces that match pro swimmers, cyclist, and runners at those given lengths. In the 2012 Olympic Triathlon Finals, Alistair Brownlee run split was 29:02. His English Olympic teammate, Mo Farah, who won the 10 km track race at the same Olympics ran it in 27:30. That is only 90 seconds behind the Olympic running champion after swimming and cycling for over 1 hour.

I personally love the Olympic triathlon. I feel as though it is a nearly perfect length. Its an endurance race, but it is still fast. Even full distance triathletes will say how tough Olympic distance triathlons can be.

Sprint Triathlon Length

The Sprint Triathlon length is a 750 meter swim length, a 20 km bike length, and a 5 km run length. The distances will vary depending on the venue and the organizer. Many Olympic athletes will compete in these short course races. They are fast and very fun to watch. The pros will finish these within 47 mins – 1 hr 10 mins.

This is a great entry level triathlon to get ones feet wet. You will only need a few months of training and the least amount of equipment to compete at this race length.

In Conclusion

I hope this article properly informed you about the 5 general triathlon lengths. If you want to learn more about some interesting triathlons in the US, the Saint Anthony’s Tri in Florida is attended by a large international field. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful as well!

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