Triathlon course

I've done 2 triathlons organised by concept sport and both were supposed to have 400m swim, not a problem easy enough to measure yourself in the pool. One had a 14 mile bike section the other had 15 and the runs both supposed to have had 5 miles runs to finish. I know from my own road races that the 5 miles must have been short on both course as my times were 27 mins and I've not run that time for 5 miles on a road race nevermind after 2 other disciplines.

So how do we know if the courses we do are accurately measured? It seems to be the runs more than the bikes as I drove round the bike sections and they were about right.


  • Hmmmmm - good question Hilly. Do they have course measuring like they would if it were an Athletics or a Cycling Time Trial Event ?

    Or is it more like Cycling Road Races, where it's not really the distance as the race.

    I guess one course isn't comparable to another, so the distances don't have to be as spot on. More of a guideline ?
  • 27 mins for 5 miles! Wowsers.

    I think BTA races do have to be measured..don't they?
  • hilly, maybe you forgot to get off your bike for the run bit?
  • LOL moosey, I must have had another gear I wasn't aware of!!

    Sorry couldn't resist!
  • Hilly which TRIs were they?
  • I've found that most non-standard length TRIs arent accuratly measured

    I normally ride the routes (bike & Run) in advance to check for myself
  • dont even bother comparing anymore. your right, they are not accurate, apart from the pool swims obv......and a lot of those splits inc T1.

    the way i get an idea of how i improve is just by looking at the names of those that finish around me. you'll start to recognise names and can compare your times with them over different races.
  • Do you guys think that HIMUK was accurate - there were some mighty fast run times there...
  • no pantman. i would have broken my half marathon pb if hadnt stopped with backache. must have been short.

    according to my cateye we had done around 44.4miles. but my cateye does skip a revolution every now and then...
  • Is that for the 56 mile bike Daz ?

    Very short ! Or you need it recalibrating seriously. ;-)

  • whoops, sorry i got distracted by w*rk ;O)
    i meant 54.4
  • Awwwww. That sounded much better.

    Typical of them to get the swim distances right. Pah !
  • i wouldnt bet on that being right as well mate!
  • (if they can reduce it to 100metres or less, I'm in !)
  • one idea - grab as many of the zip chords around you as you can like one of those fellas that sells balloons at the fairground.
    then when the hooter you go!
  • Can't believe that Richard Allen ran 66min off the bike...
  • And what does this mean re. IM next year? If they can't get the distances right then they can't really call it an Ironman...
  • Think even the swim distances can leave a lot to be desired.

    I had to swim 30 lengths to do a 500 metre swim ... I´m sure that there´s no pool in the world which is 16.6666666 metres exactly!.
  • WW-the tri's I did are organised by Concept sport, but going by what everyone says on here it seems most tri runs are short. Oh well I know not to think I've done a run pb on a triathlon!
  • thats a good point pantman
  • Surely for the big events like world champs etc they get the distances right?!

    Lizzy-that's certainly a weird size pool!
  • Daz, I had the bike at just over 55 miles and reckoning that our computers are not particularly accurate then I think it probably was about right. But the run, I'm not so sure, I have a feeling it was a bit short.

    As you say though Daz, I don't really compare times across events because apart from the changes in terrain etc, the transitions are so different. Some are very close to the swim exit, some you have to run up a couple of flights of stairs. Some have people to rack your bike for you, some don't.

    I know that all season I have had similar times to a clubmate (he beat me by just under a minute on Sunday) yet he did a 9hr50 Ironman in Austria compared to my 11hr21 in Switzerland, mostly due to a much flatter bike course which in turn makes you run better.

    Best not to compare times, just enjoy your good performances and learn from bad ones.
  • Richard-I agree you can't really compare courses for all the reasons you mention. It's just seems silly to me to say the run is 5 miles or 1/2m when it could be 1/2 mile under or over.
  • The HIMUK run was well short, I reckon.
    I ran one mile (11 to 12 I think) in around 5 mins!
    The distance from mile marker 12 to the finish was also well short.
    I think the bike course was about right, and the swim - even if that was short, the overcrowding made up for it!
    My impression of the event was that it was a beautiful setting, but as for full IM I can't see it happening.
    Let's go back to Llanberis for a real race!!
    That venue was heaps better in my opinion.

  • How many 1/2 IM's is it reasonable to train for in one year?

    Would you sort of look at it as the equivalent of training for a marathon where you should only really do 2 in a year if you want to get the best out of yourself?
  • tri courses are well known for being 'out' even on world class events. a few years ago at london the elites were doing the 10k run faster than the world 10k record!
  • i dont understand how they could get the run leg wrong. its difficult coming up with an accurate cycle distance of 55.8, but the run was an out and back in parts that could have just been stretched excuse!
  • At the end of the day the triathlon is a time trial. That was the original spirit, no drafting, staggered starts if neccessary but always 'you' against the clock and yourself. Distance is not as important as you against yourself.Lets face it if an IM or half is a mile or so out thats not much of a difference. Its not as if you are going to say no i'm not doing that extra mile. As far as records are concerned you can't compare different courses anyway, there are too many parameters apart from length. But you are right there is no excuse with the equipment at a race organisers disposal nowadays there is no excuse to get a course wrong. And I suppose you do expect more from an 'official' race, they have a name to live up to.
  • How can they say you do a marathon when you don't if it's short!
  • that your 'dark destroyer' (pic) hilly?
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