Thank you for visiting the ultra triathlon website! Feel free to have a look around, or have a read of this article for some general information on ultra triathlons.
An ultra triathlon does not differ from a normal triathlon in its basic components; you swim, cycle and then finish with a run. However, an ultra triathlon stretches a competitor further than they might have been before, by lengthening the overall distances to a minimum of 3.86km of swimming, 180.25km of cycling and a minimum run of a full marathon – that’s an incredible 42.2km!
These are just minimums though – ultra triathlons have been known to extend to over ten times these distances, with events performed over many days! The IUTA (International Ultra Triathlon Association) are the regulating body, and they organise a world cup which, in 2017 will include a three-person team event in which each member completes two of the three components of an ultra triathlon. It truly is the ultimate test for an endurance athlete!
While standard triathlons began in the 1920s and have even been part of the Olympics since the Sydney games in 2000, the ultra triathlon is relatively new, at least as an official event. The ultra triathlon world cup began in 1990, and the IUTA was established as a non-profit organisation in 2011. The world cup now consists of ten events of varying distances, and races around the world now typically include over thirty people in a mixed race.
If you’re looking to push your body to the very limit, check out local ultra-triathlon events. A typical entry fee will cost you anywhere between $300 and $500, and you’d be surprised how quickly places get filled up!
It is simply impossible to complete an ultra triathlon without having put your body through an extensive and rigorous training regime. Even the most well-known endurance athletes fail to complete races of this distance, and it requires an enormous amount of fitness and stamina to complete just one section of an ultra triathlon, let alone finish one.
Ex world cup-winning long distance triathlete Steve Harvey recommends 20-25 hours per week of training, including getting some specialist training on swimming techniques. For an average person who works a typical 40-hour week, that is a massive challenge, and for a medium-build person with a decent level of fitness, it is recommended that a training programme last in excess of six months. Ultra triathlons are not for the faint hearted!
Aside from Steve Harvey, Jan Frodeno is a German ultra-distance athlete who holds the current world record for the ultra triathlon, a mind-blowing seven hours and thirty-five minutes. Even after the swim and the cycle, his marathon time was a staggering two hours and forty minutes – almost good enough to be a professional marathon runner! On the women’s side, Brit Chrissie Wellington holds the world record at eight hours eighteen minutes, and is a four-time Ironman world champion.
Don’t let the distances put you off if you’re a little older either. In 2010, Hungarian Antal Voneki won the men’s ultra triathlon world cup at the astounding age of 52!