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So what is triathlon?

Triathlon is an exciting multi-discipline sport. It involves a continuous race over various distances in the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.

A triathlon is made up of a swim, followed by a cycle ride, followed by a run. Competitors race against the clock, which starts as they enter the swim, and stops as they cross the finish line after the run. For this reason, triathlon is often reported as having a 'fourth discipline' known as the transition. The transitions are where competitors change from swimming to cycling, and from cycling to running. The transition areas (where these changes take place) are an important and unique part of triathlon, where time can be gained or lost.

Triathlon history dates back at around 1974 in Southern California when a group of friends began to train together. The group contained mostly runners, a few swimmers and the odd cyclist or two. It wasn't long before the group was organizing informal fun runs and races, followed by events containing swimming and running, and a natural progression led them to include cycling. Triathlon thus evolved from this healthy way of life in Southern California.

Although its history is relatively short, triathlon has already achieved Olympic status, debuting at the Sydney 2000 Games.Today some 300 triathlons are held annually in Great Britain, in addition to duathlons, (combining cycling and running) and aquathlons (combining swimming and running). It has been estimated that there are 15,000 members of 200 Triathlon Clubs around the country.

Without doubt Great Britain has, and currently does hold a leading position in World Triathlon. The Great Britain team includes current World and European Champions and medallists.

Triathlon is a modern 'life style' sport, which you can start at almost any age. The basic requirements are that you are able to swim, ride a bike and run. Triathlon events give you the opportunity to race side by side with athletes of all abilities, with the benefit of seeing results, which show your placings against competitors of your own age and sex.

Further information can be obtained by visiting the British Triathlon website: www.britishtriathlon.org

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