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What Different Multisport Races Are There?
What Different Multisport Races Are There?


A triathlon is a well known and beloved sport, with the race consisting of running, swimming and cycling in equal measures, one after the other. However, training for all three sports (see our blog on brick training here) can be strenuous, or perhaps swimming or cycling isn’t something you particularly enjoy. In response to athletes who would prefer a multisport race of just running and swimming or running and cycling, there are popular races such as aquathlons and duathlons. Both aquathlons and duathlons are set up similarly to a triathlon consisting of three legs, except running is sandwiched either side of the swim or cycle. However, if you’re a lover or triathlons and looking for even more variations of a multisport race, there are lesser known events such as Biathle, Aquabike and Quadrathlon races to try your hand at.


Aquathlon- What is an Aquathlon?

Aquathlons began in the mid 20th century to eliminate the need for organisers to make arrangements for the cycling leg of the race. As the cycling portion is typically longer in triathlons, race organisers needed to map out a course, often having to arrange road closures. 

If you love the idea of competing in a triathlon but you’re not a fan of cycling, an aquathlon will consist of just the elements you love, running and swimming. Alternatively, if you are a triathlete wanting to mix up your race routine, an aquathlon is the perfect way to shake it up. Like a triathlon the race is still split into three legs and there is still the fun, competitiveness and transitioning that is involved in triathlon races. The only difference is the third leg of the race is also running instead of cycling. 

What are the distances of an aquathlon?

The ITU Aquathlon World Championship official distance changes based on the temperate of the water the athletes will be swimming in...

  • Water >22 degrees- 1.5 mile run, 0.6 mile swim, 1.5 mile run
  • Water < 22 degrees- 0.6 mile swim, 8 mile run 

Other aquathlons come in varying distances, some with three legs and other just two. The swim for aquathlons also can vary between open water and a swimming pool. 


Duathlon- What is a Duathlon?

Similarly to aquathlons a duathlon combines just two sports; cycling sandwiched between two legs of running. One of the most well known duathlon races is the Powerman Duathlon World Series and the London Duathlon, with the London race being the largest duathlon to date with 2,500 taking part. 

What are the distances of a duathlon?

As with most multisport races, duathlons come in varying distances making this a sport that is accessible to athletes of varying abilities and experience levels. 

  • Sprint Duathlon- 3.1 mile run, 12.4 mile bike, 1.5 mile run
  • Standard Duathlon- 6.2 mile run, 24 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
  • Middle Distance Duathlon- 6.2 mile run, 37.2 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
  • Long Distance Duathlon- 6.2 mile run, 93.2 mile bike, 18.6 mile run
  • duathlon

    Biathle- What is a Biathle

    Another sport derived from the much loved triathlon is biathle. Biathle is similar to an aquathlon in that it involves running and swimming with transitions between the legs. However, biathle is typically shorter and a lot faster with the distance usually 200 m swim followed by a 1.8 mile run.

    Aquabike- What is an Aquabike race?

    Aquabike races are similar to aquathlons and duathlons in that it consists of two disciplines; swimming and cycling. This race is perfect for athletes who love triathlons but struggle with joint problems prohibiting them from competing in the running legs. Without the running portion, aquabike does not involve impact on the joints.

    Quadrathlon- What is a Quadrathlon race?

    If you are looking for even more of a multidisciplinary than a triathlon is the quadrathlon. Whilst still involving the same three sports of running, swimming and cycling, a quadrathlon also involves a kayaking leg. However, during colder months the kayaking and swimming can be replaced by cross country skiing and snowshoeing.


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