Hold on. You can enter a triathlon as a team?
You can indeed. “Most triathlons allow teams of three to enter alongside individual competitors,” explains a British Triathlon spokesperson. “One person swims, another cycles and the third team member runs.”
But what if I want to try a bit of everything?
That’s possible too. “Some relay events challenge competitors to do a mini-triathlon before handing over to a teammate,” the spokesperson continues.
Or if you’re a bit more hardcore you could try the National Club Relay Championships. “This event is held in Nottingham in August and features teams of four. Each team member completes a 400m open water swim, a 15k cycle ride and then, finally, a 5k run.”
Blimey. Do you have to be an experienced triathlete to enter that event?
“Not at all,” responds British Triathlon’s spokesperson. “Although this is a national championship, most teams are there for fun and lots take part in fancy dress, so it’s ideal for beginners. Teams can be all-male, all-female or mixed.”
Will people look down on us for entering as a team?
Again, it’s a big fat no. “Proper triathletes don’t mock, because they understand that racing as a team is a fun way of tackling your first triathlon,” says former British Triathlon Coach of the Year Andy Bullock (endurancesportscoaching.co.uk). “Plus they know the sport needs newcomers in order to grow.”
Racing as a team is a fun way of tackling your first triathlon
So how you can feel like a team while training?
“Forget about the fact you’re only doing one discipline, and join your mates for their training,” says Bullock. “Failing that, meet regularly to chat about how your training is going and generally take the mickey out of each other.”
Hypothetical moral quandary: if you were on a team as a strong swimmer, alongside a strong cyclist, and you had the chance to replace your slightly weaker runner, would you take it?
“Nooo!” laughs Bullock. “Doing a team triathlon is about having fun with friends. There’ll always be people around who could improve your time, but it’s far better to stick with the team you have. Otherwise, you could well be the next person to be replaced.”
What’s the best triathlon team name you’ve seen?
“There are too many to choose from,” says Bullock. “Although the most popular is probably ‘Splash, Pedal, Crawl’…”