Origin of the sport

The sport is believed to have its roots in a race staged in France in the 1920s called “Les Trois Sports” translated as 'three sports' – an endurance event combining swimming, cycling and running.

However, it wasn't until the 1970s when the San Diego Track Club created triathlon as we know it today.

The sport expanded rapidly and in 1989 the global governing body for the sport, the International Triathlon Union was formed in Avignon in France, the city which later that year hosted the sport's first official world championship.

The sport made its Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games and has been a permanent part of the programme ever since. Today the sport has more than 120 affiliated members worldwide.

How it Works

Triathlon is a endurance race combining three disciplines over a range of distances. The order of the three disciplines are always swim, followed by bike and then run. The most common triathlon distance is known as the Olympic distance – 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. However, there are a variety of other distance races including sprint distance right up to Ironman distance; 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2 km run.

The swim is often competed in an open water lake, river or sea but can take place in a swimming pool. On completion athletes will then enter a first transition zone known as T1 when competitors will typically shed their wet suits and pick up their bike for the second discipline of the race. Depending on the rules of the event competitors may or many not be allowed to draft behind another bike. If it is a non-drafting race the bike leg will essentially be a time trial in which participants are not allowed within an area of 7m long or 2m wide of another bike. To come within that zone is deemed an unfair advantage.

Following the bike element, athletes will enter second transition (T2) drop off their bikes and begin the run element of the race until the finish line.

Format for World Masters Games 2017

Competition will take place over both the Sprint (750m, 20km and 5km) and Olympic distances (1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run). The age groups for both men and women competitors will be in clusters of five years from 30+, 35+ etc right up to 85+. Teams are allowed to enter with one athlete per single discipline.

Expected number of competitors: 1200

Venue: Auckland Waterfront

Kiwi Legend

Hamish Carter – The World Masters Games 2017 ambassador enjoyed a stellar career during a golden period for New Zealand triathlon. The Aucklander was a 12-time ITU World Cup winner, 2002 Commonwealth bronze medallist and three-time World Championship medallist, but the high point of his career came at the Athens 2004 Olympics when he led home a Kiwi 1-2 from his countryman and rival Bevan Docherty. Carter, who retired in 2007, currently leads the Performance Planning team at High Performance Sport New Zealand and has not ruled out giving an alternative sport to triathlon a crack at the World Masters Games in Auckland.

Did you know?

That in the history of the men's triathlon at the Olympic Games, New Zealand's is the most successful nation with three medals in total.

How to get involved?