Something for everyone at the London Triathlon 2012
When taken seriously, triathlon competitions can present competitor with one of the most gruelling physical tests on the planet. 'Iron Man' length competitions involve athletes consecutively tackling swimming, cycling and running courses, which are all long enough to offer testing races as standalone events, and it is true to say that the top triathletes in the world are among the fittest specimens of humanity.
Despite this fact, the main point of the London Triathlon 2012 is not elite competition but mass participation. The majority of the projected field of 13,000 competitors will be ordinary people, many of whom will be racing to raise money for charity. There are a host of personal benefits to be enjoyed by those taking part, including the triumphant parties taking place in many London hotels for those that have succeeded in completing their chosen event.
There are two basic types of race in the London Triathlon, within which there are several subcategories. The main event on Sunday 23rd September is the testing Olympic distance race, which involves a 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run. This is the standard triathlon format, which is recognised around the world. The vast majority of entrants in the London Triathlon will be competing at this distance.
The sprint events, as the name suggests, involve much shorter courses. The Super Sprint format involves a manageable 400m swim, 10km cycle, and 2.5km run. While this, like every other race category, will attract some serious athletes, looking for impressive race times, the Super Sprint also offers an important entry-level target for non-athletes.
Most people have a realistic chance of completing a Super Sprint event, without the need to commit to life changing amounts of training beforehand. In just a few months, the average person could feasibly gain the fitness demanded by the Super Sprint distance, although those with only basic swimming skills may need a little longer to prepare.
The sprint event format is a 750m swim, followed by a 20km cycle and then 5km run. Most people who make regular use of a gym membership should be able to tackle this length of triathlon.
Thanks to the growing popularity of triathlon events, funding the sport is no longer such a barrier to entry. Participants do not need to buy an expensive bike to train, they can simply rent this on the day, and then tackle cycling training in the gym if necessary.
Another expensive item that you can now rent is a wetsuit, this is in fact mandatory for any event taking place in water with a temperature below 14 degrees Celsius. In practice, this includes the majority of open water swims in the world, and most definitely those that take place in the River Thames!
Full information on everything that you need to know about participating in the London Triathlon can be found on the official website. Beyond the physical preparations, perhaps the most important thing to sort out, is accommodation at a London hotel, as in addition to the 13,000 participants, there are some 30,000 spectators expected at the London Triathlon 2012, many of whom will be coming from outside of the capital.