1979-Ironman-TriathlonSince the first Ironman race in 1978 the public has had its attention held watching lots of people, novices to full time professionals, push themselves in three disciplines over a variety of distances in an aim to gain personal fitness or competitive glory.

British Triathlon Memberships an increase of 130% in last 10 years and participation has grown 300% in the last 5 years.

So why is it popular? In fact it is the fastest growing sport in Britain. You can now go on Triathlon Holidays! So why are we looking to push the muscles rather than the just soak up the rays?

Because everyone is a winner, perhaps this has been misinterpreted by the Sports departments across UK schools awarding all competitors a winner’s sticker. In fact in Triathlon can be good in one of three disciplines or perhaps just pretty good in three but not exceptional in any one, allowing many more people to feel the sense of athletic achievement… honestly not through platitudes.

Because training is more interesting. The average person signing up to their local gym after the Christmas binge gets bored after the first few weeks. Having three activities as well as core strength activities holds that interest. Women don’t need to be threatened by muscle bulging weight training, and in fact a little padding for warmth in the cold water is a positive asset!

Because simply finishing an event is seen as an achievement, it’s a great opportunity to test your limits. Just crossing the finish line – no matter your place in the field – can be a hugely rewarding experience, and is what keeps thousands of middle (and back) of the pack racers coming back for more. I know I was hugely proud of completing my first, however bereft of elegance and style it was I did it and in under 2 hours, I was a winner!

Because they are doing three different sports, triathletes can avoid many of the injuries that single sports athletes – such as runners or swimmers – fall prey to. In addition, training for a triathlon is a great cardiovascular workout, and can help to build and maintain good muscle tone.

Alpha MaleResearch shows the sport tends to attract competitive alpha types – mostly men – who, with an average salary of £45,000 and an average age of 40, are willing and able to invest both time and money in their hobby.

The same survey found one in five triathletes in 2012 travelled overseas to compete, with almost three quarters saying they would consider doing so in the future. Some combined an event with a triathlon holiday.

So it would be easy to assume triathlon holidays are full of middle-aged men in lycra who want to swim stronger, cycle harder and run faster.

Or is it just purely the increase of media coverage:
In 2012, television exposure increased by 18%, with broadcast duration reaching over 1,000 hours for the first time. The World Triathlon Series accumulated 5.43 billion contacts in 2012 – up 168% from when it began after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


The widespread success of triathlon at the 2012 London Olympic Games is seen as a further boost to triathlon ‘s popularity. Over 4.7 million people watched the spectacular photo finish between Nicola Spirig (SUI) and Lisa Norden (SWE) in the women ‘s triathlon on the BBC in the UK. The men ‘s race received even higher ratings, with 5.6 million people having tuned into BBC to see the Brownlee brothers claim gold and bronze in front of a home crowd.

Or maybe it’s just the lycra?

BBC 14/9/13

British CTriathlong Media