Creating Your Own Self-Supported Triathlon

author : Team BT
comments : 2

When races are cancelled, we come up with interesting solutions

You're all on your own, and your mama ain't coming. 

That's what it's felt like during home quarantine and stay-at-home orders around the world. And it's also what it feels like when triathletes create their own solo races, or set up events with a small group of friends.

As many race companies are cancelling some races or the entire season of events, triathletes who have planned for months or years for the big race are left grieving the loss of a major life event ... and considering the options.

Sprint and Olympic

Putting on your own race for yourself at these distances is pretty low risk, especially if you are in good shape and you have trained appropriately for the distance. Many experienced triathletes can get by on what they carry on their bodies at these distances. For others, stashing a sports drink along the made-up course is helpful.

Since sprint and Olympic distance courses are more accessible, it will be tempting to invite your friends. We urge you to consider the responsibility you take on for others, legally and ethically, if they aren't up to it. Unlike at a real race, there won't be course marshals or medics. Not everyone has the same skill level or bike maintenance.

Years ago, I participated in a self-supported triathlon among friends that was in between sprint and Olympic distance. It began in a quarry popular with open water swimmers. From there, we rode back to the home of the host, left our bikes, and ran on a course around his community.

Even this modest event among friends required spouses to drop us off at the water and wait at the house. It was also a very hot day and a few people had some real struggles on the run. In hindsight, we had no medical personnel to help if anyone had succumbed to heat exhaustion. 

HIM or Iron Distance

Setting up a self-supported race at this distance is no joke, and must be taken seriously. There is a reason these races cost a lot of money to enter, and some of those reasons are police and medical professionals.

Should anyone attempt this (and of course it has been done) we recommend a more boring course consisting of repeating loops to avoid being too far from home. Also be sure your loved ones can track your location, and that you have prearranged your restroom and nutrition stops. If you won't have full daylight for your epic event, leave some lights for yourself at a supply stop.

Keep in mind that during this pandemic, many places you might have stopped to use the restroom or buy a sports drink could be closed, especially early in the morning or late at night.

Be committed. Be tough. But don't be stupid.


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date: April 30, 2020

Team BT