Swimming, cycling, and jogging… The triathlon, a combination of these three sports, has recently attracted extreme sports enthusiasts.
Standing out as an individual sport, the triathlon is based on a different philosophy that challenges the athlete’s reach, requires a superhuman effort and addresses different age groups. The fact that there is no Olympic-style record attempt and that the degrees can vary according to the weather and ground conditions increases the enthusiasm of sports fans for the triathlon.
Everything began with an idea
At the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2002, triathlon was accepted as an Olympic sport in the shape of swimming, cycling and running. So, how did this sport emerge? In 1977, John Collins who served as an officer in the US Navy, came up with the idea of holding the 3,800 meter swimming marathon, a 180 km cycling race around the island, and a 42 km running marathon, which were held in separate times in Honolulu, the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, all together within the scope of a one sports branch. Although the idea of doing these three sports at the same time was counterproductive and challenging for most people, this idea put forward by Collins with his adventurous friends came to life with the participation of 15 athletes and it was called the ‘Ironman’ Triathlon. It is worth reminding that the triathlon is the sports branch with the most number of licensed athletes in Europe after football. Over the years, it has been observed that Ironman distances have been reduced to more reasonable levels in order to increase participation and facilitate organizations. With the establishment of the international federation, the name ‘Ironman’ was changed to ‘triathlon’ which means triple sports. The triathlon is also very popular in Turkey. Triathlon enthusiasts participate in important events in Alanya, Erdek, Çeşme, Ahlat, Eğirdir, Köyceğiz, Kütahya, Sinop and Sapanca.
Race against time
The first official triathlon trial in Turkey was successfully completed in 2 hours 59 minutes and 43 seconds by Nihat Aydın within the Olympic standards (1.5 km swimming, 40 km cycling and 10 km running) and under the supervision of official referees in 1988 in Eskişehir. At the end of 1994, the sport of triathlon was placed under the supervision of Cycling Federation of Turkey. In 2001, Triathlon Federation of Turkey was established by becoming separated from Cycling Federation of Turkey. Triathlon Federation of Turkey holds competitions within its structure in the Maiden Castle, Marmaris, Eğirdir, Camyuva, Urla, and in İstanbul. ENKA Sports Club, Ege University, and Turkish Maritime Organization are also holding various organizations. Decathlon, pentathlon and heptathlon sports, which are the branches of athletics, are based on scoring and triathlon is based on competing against time. Another difference is that the triathlon is a sport that lasts from the start to the end, unlike these other sports. The branches where the triathlon is accepted at the Olympic games is swimming, cycling and running. The triathlon sport can vary according to the characteristics of the place where it is organized. In the Olympic sports triathlon, where swimming, cycling, and running are performed one after the other, there are two different distances: sprint (short) distance and Olympic distance. In the sprint-short version, swimming is 750 meters, cycling is 20 km and running is 5 km. In the Olympic version, swimming is 1,500 meters, cycling is 40 km and running is 10 km. In the Ironman version, swimming is 3,800 meters, cycling 180 km and running 42 kilometers 195 meters.
How are the rules determined?
After completing the swimming course, the competitors move on to the bicycle track to continue with the bicycle race. They get ready in a short time at the place where bicycles and materials are located, which is called the transition zone, and the bicycle race continues. The athletes who complete the swimming course complete their pre-determined course on their bicycles without any help. The athletes place their bicycles in the transition zone, designated by the organizing committee, before the competition. After completing the swimming course, the athletes come to the transition zone, wear their helmets, wear their shoes and take their bikes out of the transition zone. It is forbidden for anyone other than competitors and officials (referees) to enter the transition zone. A competitor can follow another competitor not closer than 10 meters. Triathletes who complete the cycling stage put their bicycles in the transition zone, where they took them. Here, the athletes who take the running shoes leave the zone to finish the running track. The finish line is set up clearly and the competitors cross the line to complete the race. The end of the running track also means the end of the triathlon. Then the total scores are calculated and a ranking is made accordingly.