Has your child got stacks of energy, have a passion for sports or just loves a new and exciting challenge? Or maybe they have expressed interest in giving a Triathlon a go, and you’re left thinking “a Tri-what?”. If you want to know what you are both getting in for, we have created the ultimate guide to TriStar, Youth and Junior Triathlons to fill you in…
What is a Junior Triathlon?
A Triathlon is a sport that consists of three different disciplines; swimming, cycling and running, one followed by the other and it's never too early to start! Junior Triathlons are Triathlons for young and aspiring athletes that range from age 8 to 19 years old, increasing in difficulty and distance the older you get. It is worth noting however, that from aged 15 you can compete in the Sprint Triathlon, from aged 17 you can compete in the Standard or Olympic Triathlon. See our blog on What is a Triathlon for more information about these.
- TriStar Start (8 years old): 50m swim, 800m grass cycle, 600m run
- TriStar 1 (9-10 years old): 150m swim, 2km grass cycle, 1,200m run
- TriStar 2 (11-12 years old): 200m swim, 4km grass cycle, 1,800m run
- TriStar 3 (13-14 years old): 300m swim, 6km grass cycle, 2,400m run
- Youth (15-16 years old): 400m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run
- Junior (17-18 years old): 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
- Junior (19 years old): 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run
The first leg of the race is swimming. For most TriStar, Youth and Junior races the swimming portion of the race will be completed in a swimming pool or lake as opposed to the sea or open water. Any stroke apart from backstroke can be used to swim the distance, whichever one is preferred. For this your child will need a swimming costume, goggles and a swim hat.
The next leg of the race is cycling. For the TriStar races this will be completed on grass to ensure safety. For the Youth and Junior races all Triathlons will be carried out in a traffic free area such as sports pitches or parks. For the same purpose any serviced, roadworthy bike can be used, but a light and appropriately sized bike with tires that can be changed from smooth to knobbly is recommended. In addition to this, a helmet is always compulsory, regardless of the age group and ability.
Lastly, it is a run to the finish line! For this last part of the race it is important that your child has a comfortable and well fitting pair of trainers for the final push to finish their first Triathlon.
Extra Kit (Optional)
For competing in a Triathlon, especially if it is your first, only requires basic equipment and gear. However, if your child is really enjoying competing and is looking to progress, there are some added extras that can give the extra edge and comfort.
- A Tri Suit- This is an a short sleeved or sleeveless all-in-one outfit that is designed to be worn for all three legs of the competition. This makes transitioning between sports quicker and more seamless. The outfit is form fitting which makes it easy to swim in, as well as having a fleece insert to make it comfortable to cycle and run in too. Prices for a Tri Suit can start from around £25.
- A Kitbrix bag- These are durable and lightweight bags with a waterproof bottom that can be customised to have waterproof wet and dry compartments. This will keep kit protected and dry during race days and practice sessions. Shop your Kitbtix bag here.
- Running shoes- Any trainers will do, but running shoes will be lightweight, have added cushioning and elasticated laces.
- Cycling shoes and Clip On Pedals- Particularly for your first Triathlon these aren’t necessary, but if you would like to progress getting yourself some cycling shoes and clip on pedals will make cycling a little easier, especially for the longer distances.
- Cycling gloves and sunglasses- The gloves add extra comfort when competing during the cycling portion, and sunglasses for when it's particularly sunny.
- Ear plugs/nose plugs- If your child suffers from water going up their nose or in their ears these can add extra comfort when competing.
- A Race Belt- A race belt is an elastic belt and a way of attaching your race number to your outfit that makes it easy during transitions if clothing needs to be changed.