Here’s the thing…in order to call oneself a triathlete, you of course have to swim/bike/run. But there are alternative options if the triathlon is not for you. Often I see/hear statements on blogs or in random conversations along the lines of “I can’t swim” or “I would do a tri but I have to learn to swim” or ” I am not good at riding a bike” and then the talk stops for a few days/weeks.
Are you looking to try something new? How about one of these events:
Duathlon: This race consists of a run-bike-run format. This is a good race for those who do not like, or know how, to swim. Dualthons are most typically held simultaneously with triathlons and the distance generall coincides with that of the triathlon race. Additionally, in the event of a thunderstorm or other conditions that would prevent one from swimming, the triathlon race is turned into a duathlon for all racers. This was the case last year at the Philadelphia Women’s Event. I personally found it more physically taxing and demanding than a triathlon. Props to the DU’ers! If interested, you can read about it here.
Aqua-Bike: This is also sometimes referred to as Aqua-Velo and it combines the swim and the bike of a race. This is a good race for someone who has to take time off of running, or for the athlete who might be marathon training but wants to enjoy racing at the same time. These events, like the duathlon, generally run simultaneously with the triathlon.
Aqualthon: This event is more commonly known as a Splash and Dash. In this event, the racers partake in a swim and run, eliminating the bike course. Unlike the other events, a Splash and Dash is usually held on its own and not as part of a triathlon. This kind of race is perfect for someone who is uncomfortable on the bike.
Relay: Did you know that most triathlon races offer a relay option? If you are a super-fast swimmer, biker or runner, you might think about grabbing two other super fast partners and forming a relay team. And if you are slow (like me) that’s great too- relays are for everyone! Two or three people can make up a relay team and they are held in all distances. Relay teams are a great way to race without taxing your body too much.
If you have competed in any of the above events, please share your experience. If you haven’t…well, what are you waiting for???