More and more people are keen on Triathlon, a multidisciplinary athletics program that includes three highly physical sports activities, such as swimming, running and cycling. What is this compelling sporting practice?
What is Triathlon?
The Triathlon is a background discipline that combines three sports activities among the most practiced: swimming, cycling and running. The stopwatch punctuates the travel time and adds up the time taken to complete the races: the winner arrives first at the finish line and has completed the three tests in the shortest time. A multifaceted and multifunctional activity , where the athlete is called to perform different physical actions, with different intensities and efforts according to the sport he is practicing. The triathletes in fact train hard and follow dietary principles to give the necessary strength to face the races: they are required extreme physicality and strength, but also agility, immediate ability to adapt to changes in pace imposed, balance, and of course skill strategic and tactical intelligence. It is therefore necessary a constant and intense training because the Triathlon races are really a business for people of iron: and perhaps for this reason there are many people, men and women, who approach the Triathlon with the desire to compete with themselves and go beyond your limits.
How is Triathlon born?
The name Triathlon derives from the Greek (means ‘three competitions’) but the history of the Triathlon is recent: there were competitions with three disciplines since the beginning of the last century, but it is in 1977 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the Triathlon originates as a sport. On that day, friends talked about what could be the toughest race for man: the ‘Waikiki Roughwater Swim’, a 2.4 mile (3860 meter) long offshore swimming race, the ‘Around Oahu Bike Race ‘, a 115-mile (180-kilometer) bike ride of salts-downs, or the Honolulu Marathon, of 42. 195 meters. Not finding an agreement, someone proposed to join the three races in one, to create the toughest sports competition. An idea that came to life some time later, when in 14 they presented themselves at the start for the first Triathlon race, which united those three Hawaiian races in one.
The Ironman World Championship Triathlon
Thus, in Hawaii, the Triathlon sports discipline and the Ironman World Championship were born, a race that is still considered the classic Triathlon. That edition, which took place on February 18, 1978 in Waikiki, was won by Gordon Heller from the USA, who completed the entire course of the three races in 11 hours and 46 minutes. Of course the participants were mostly Americans, so from the US they were also the winner of the second place (John Dumbar, in 12 hours, 20 minutes and 27 seconds) and the third (Dave Orlowski, in 13 hours, 59 minutes and 13 seconds).
Since then, the Ironman World Championship Triathlon is held annually, and more and more people are taking part from all over the world to compete with the toughest competition in the world in a Hawaiian dream. Even the journey times have dropped considerably compared to then: the German Patrick Lange, the last winner of the 2017 Irronman Hawaii, has completed the entire journey in 8 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds, and is currently the record of the competition.
Over time, the Triathlon has spread widely throughout the world, and since 2000 has become an Olympic discipline. Many and from everywhere are people who want to get involved with this sport, and the sub-disciplines of Triathlon have multiplied: each race includes different routes and distances. The shortest of the official distances is the ‘Supersprint’ with 400 meters of swimming trails, 10 kilometers of bike and 2.5 km of running. The longer distances are still those established by the Ironman, although there are numerous races around the world of Ultra-Triathlon, where the route of the Ironmen is repeated several times: for 3 (Triple Iron), 10 (DecaTriathlon) or also 20 (Double DecaTriathlon) times.
The competitions are for both men and women and there are also many competitions for the youngest and for the junior categories, who want to approach this discipline from an early age.
The main Triathlon races in the world
In addition to the classic of the Ironman, there are numerous Triathlon races in the world. The main ones are the European Triathlon Championships, which take place every year since 1985.
Since 1989, the World Triathlon Championship (Triathlon World Championship), now in its 28th edition, is held annually. Australia, with 19 golds, is the most successful nation, followed by the United Kingdom (14) and Spain (8).
From the 2000 Athens Olympics, the Triathlon is Olympic discipline: the competitions are held at distances of 1500 meters for swimming, 40 kilometers for cycling and 10 kilometers for walking. The latest edition saw the triumph of the Brownlee brothers from the United Kingdom, Alistair (Gold) and Jonathan (Silver).
Triathlon is therefore a complete discipline, hard but at the same time fascinating, which puts man before his own limits of physical and psychological resistance, and of course his ancestral desire to go further. This is why more and more people are approaching this sport, in every part of the globe.