The best multisport races to do this year

Triathlon rules the multisport roost but there are plenty of variations to freshen things up. Here’s our duathlon/aquabike/aquathlon guide…

Athletes exit the water at OtillO Isle of Scilly 2022

Triathlon has long been the dominant multi-discipline format, but there are plenty of other variations that can act as an entry-point into multisport or provide a fresh twist to tri regulars.

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What is a duathlon?

The first is duathlon, the run/bike/run format that takes place in spring, autumn and winter (the latter for truly tough cookies out there).

For anyone not ready to face triathlon’s swim leg, duathlon offers a water-free format (unless it’s raining) that kicks off with a run before a bike leg and a final run. Standard formats are 10km/40km/5km but these can vary, with off-road duathlons also common.

For anyone looking for an easy two-discipline combo, however, duathlon can be a gruelling war of attrition, with athletes forced to battle the conditions, the physical demands of trying to ride after running, and perfecting a pacing strategy.

Go out too fast, too soon, and that final run leg can leave you a shuffling shell of a racer. Don’t let the toughness put you off, though, as duathlon can be one of the most rewarding multisport experiences.

What is an aquathlon and an aquabike?

Racing the other multisport formats can also give you the chance to improve your weakest discipline(s), so if you’re a bike powerhouse, why not give the swim/run combo of aquathlon a blast? Or if you’re recovering from a running injury, then an aquabike could be the leg-saving option you need.

What is swimrun?

A more recent variation of multisport is swimrun, which sees athletes do multiple swim and run legs in one race, often with a partner and invariably somewhere off-the-grid and involving islands.

ÖtillÖ are the foremost organiser in the world of swimrun, but also look out for Love SwimRun events in Llanberis (17 June).

You’ll need to buy or adapt a wetsuit that you can run in for it, but that’s all part of the DIY fun and adventurous ethos of swimrun racing.

3 of the best UK multisport races

Clumber Park Duathlon, 22 April 2023
trisociety.co.uk

A athlete switches from the bike to the run at the Clunber Park Duathlon. (Credit: OSB Events)

Hokey Cokey Swimrun St Austell Bay, 27 May 2023
madhattersportsevents.co.uk

Hever Castle Aquabike, 23-24 September 2023
castleraceseries.com

The Hever Castle Triathlon offers two aquabike event distance options over the weekend of racing. (Credit: Paul Mitchell)
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Top image credit: Jean Marie Gueye