What are the different triathlon distances?

We explain the 5 recognised triathlon distances you can race, from the shortest, the supersprint, to the full distance Ironman

Which triathlon distance should you race?

There are five recognised triathlon distances;

  • Supersprint triathlon distance
  • Sprint triathlon distance
  • Olympic triathlon distance
  • Half-Ironman triathlon distance
  • Full Ironman triathlon distance

Which triathlon distance should you race?

The good news about triathlon is whichever distance you decide on, you’ll still be taking on a decent challenge.There are also many varied races out there, but with just six hours a week to train you can comfortably complete one. See our guide to the different triathlon distances and times below.


Swim: 400m
Bike :10km
Run: 2.5km

The supersprint is the shortest triathlon distance and a  great entry point to tri, giving you the chance to experience the three disciplines together without having to put in hours of training. Finish one and you’ll be a triathlete!

What’s a good time for this triathlon distance? Anything under 1hr and you’re flying. Plenty of beginners just aim to have fun and complete rather than compete, so enjoy!


Bike: 20km
Run: 5km

Often the shortest option at many events, but still a decent race to get under your belt. This gives you the chance to really experience triathlon, so you’ll need to incorporate tri-specific skills such as brick sessions into your training.

What’s a good time for this triathlon distance? Come in under 90mins and you should feel chuffed.



Swim: 1.5km
Bike: 40km
Run: 10km

Triathlon made its Olympic debut at the Sydney Games in 2000, and this distance is now accepted as the ‘standard’ distance for ITU racing.

What’s a good time for this triathlon distance? Under 3hrs is a really solid time. At the elite level, Alistair Brownlee famously triumphed at the London Olympics with a time of 1:46:25 at this distance.


Bike: 90km
Run: 21.1km

You might also hear this referred to as ‘middle distance’ or ‘70.3’. It’s a gruelling step-up from Olympic racing and a decent challenge that more triathletes are taking on.

What’s a good time for this triathlon distance? Race times are very individual and the course can play a big part. But, for the 35-39 group, a good men’s time is approx 6hrs, 7hrs for women.


Swim: 3.8km
Bike: 180km
Run: 42.2km

Complete one of these and you’d be justified in spending the rest of the year sat in the pub, telling anyone who’ll listen about your chafing.

What’s a good time for this triathlon distance? Just completing the distance within the 17hr cut-off is a massive accomplishment! But anything around the 13hr mark for men (30-35) is a solid time; 14hrs for women. Getting under the 11hr mark deserves serious respect!

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