Illustration of transition area during triathlon event

Combining three unique and challenging disciplines - swimming, cycling and running - Triathlon demonstrates the overall fitness, skill and endurance of some of the world’s most talented athletes.

An individual Triathlon starts with a 1,500m open-water swim, followed by a 40km road cycle, finishing with a 10km run, with transitions in between to change kit.

Glasgow 2014 sees the inclusion of a mixed relay event for the very first time at the Commonwealth Games.

About triathlon

There are various distances, such as sprint, middle and long. Disability triathletes compete in Paratriathlon and there are also Duathlons and Aquathlons.

Triathlon = Swim + Bike + Run

Duathlon = Run + Bike + Run

Aquathlon = Swim + Run

Triathlon events are often split into elite races and age-group races for keen amateurs. It attracts all ages and abilities due to the variety of distances and formats.


Novice and Super Sprint400m10km2.5km
Olympic and Standard1500m40km5km

In Scotland there are approximately 40 clubs, 140 events and 10,000 people taking part in training and racing activities.

Getting started in Triathlon is simpler than it sounds:

  • You will need some essential kit: swimming goggles, a wetsuit (for open water events), a bike and a pair of trainers.
  • Join a Triathlon club in your area for training support, to perfect your technique and meet likeminded people.
  • Join triathlonscotland for a race licence, entry discounts and race insurance.
  • Pick your events and register with the race organisers.
  • Enjoy taking part and achieving your goal.

Governing body

Triathlonscotland is the national governing body for Triathlon, Duathlon and multi-sport in Scotland. It sanctions events, runs a national performance programme, organises national championship events, provides coaching opportunities and developes participation. Triathlonscotland operates through a combination of staff and a voluntary board of directors, complemented by an enthusiastic base of volunteers, all working together to realise the full potential of a vibrant Triathlon community in Scotland.


Triathlon was invented in the early 1970s by the San Diego Track Club, as an alternative workout to the rigours of track training. The club’s first event consisted of a 10km run, an 8km cycle and a 500 metre swim.

Over the next decade, Triathlon grew by leaps and bounds and soon gained recognition throughout the world. In early April 1989, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) was founded at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France, the city that hosted the first official world championships on 6 August of the same year. ITU has maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada since then. Triathlon was awarded full Olympic medal status in 1994, debuting in Sydney in 2000.

Since 1989, the sport has grown rapidly and now has over 120 affiliated national federations around the world. Triathlon is a very popular sport in the United Kingdom. Alistair Brownlee, the reigning men’s Olympic champion, along with his brother, who is world champion, are from Yorkshire.

In Scotland, Triathlon has been an established sport since the 1980s.

World Olympic Dreams - Alistair Brownlee

World Champion triathlete Alistair Brownlee explains what motivates him to train for more than 30 hours per week, what his home county means to him and why he feels lucky to be doing something he loves. (BBC video)


Other websites

  • triathlonscotland

    Information about triathlonscotland, the national governing body for triathlon, duathlon and multi-sport and a member of the British Triathlon Federation.