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An Overview of Multisport Disciplines

Triathlon
Swim, bike, run. Triathlon has several racing distances, from the short youth events up to ultra-distance events. Common race distances are the Sprint, International. Half Ironman® or 70.3, and Ironman® or 140.6. Although distances of each leg can vary, traditionally:
  • Sprint = 1/2 mile swim, 7-9 mile bike, 5K run
  • International = .9 mile swim, 15-20 mile bike, 10K run
  • Half Ironman® or 70.3 = 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile/half marathon run
  • Ironman® or 140.6 = 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile/marathon run

Since "Ironman" is a registered trademark, these races are now know by their distance in kilometers, 70.3 for the half and 140.6 for the full. Also, the "International" distance is sometimes called the "Olympic" distance, since that is the event distance in the Olympics. But since "Olympic" is also a trademark, it cannot be used outside of the Olympic games environment.

Duathlon
Duathlon is a run and bike combination, typically in the run-bike-run format. Race distances are usually the same categories as a full triathlon, and are often run with a triathlon. In those cases, the duathletes run while the triathletes swim, then join them for the bike and run segments.
Aquathlon
Aquathlon fast-growing variation that combines running and swimming, and seems especially popular with competitive swimmers and swim teams. Aquathons can be swim-run or swim-run-swim. On reason for the popularity of these races is that, with no bike leg, they can be held in less space and without the necessity of closing roads.
Off-Road
Off-road events offer a swim, then a mountain bike ride and a trail run. Typical distances are 1/2 mile swim, 8-12 mile mountain bike, and 3 mile trail run. The XTERRA series are the most well know off-road triathlons.
Winter Triathlon
A Winter triathlon is made up of running on snow, mountain biking on snow, and cross-country skiing. These are usually help on hard-packed snow courses in cross-country ski areas.
Aquabike
Probably the latest incarnation of multisport is the Aquabike, a swim/bike combination. This appeals to athletes that may have injuries that prevent running long distances, or those who just don't have an affinity for running. Swim and bike distances typically follow the triathlon format. For example, the USAT National Championship distance is a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike, the 70.3 distances.