Youth / Kids Triathlon – UPDATED 2021 – Junior Triathlon Distances
If you are starting your child in a triathlon it’s wise to know the distances of a youth/kids triathlon. Triathlons start from as young as 8 years old and every year after that you will see the distance of the triathlon increase. In this article, we look at the junior triathlon distances and how they change as your child grows older.
A Complete Guide To Kids / Youth Triathlon
As a triathlete, we love to see triathlon grow in popularity, and like any sport, this starts from a young age. Because of this, a decade ago we started to see the need for more events targeted at the Youth / Kids category.
Since then, the number of events has grown steadily, and we can now find events for kids as young as 8.
These races an excellent way to get children active, but also a great way to encourage participation in sport.
The cost of running a triathlon event is expensive though, so the Youth and Kids triathlon category is often combined with a larger triathlon event.
Events like Ironman combine an Ironkids fun run and triathlon before the main event. It offers young athletes the opportunity to experience competition while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
The distance of the events (as shown below) is often decided based on the sports governing body and the event organizer. But saying that, most of the Youth / Kids triathlon events are relatively the same distance based on their age group.
Junior Triathlon Distances – How Long Is A Junior Triathlon?
Junior triathlon distances can vary depending on age and the governing body’s rules in your country. Typically, a junior triathlon starts at 8 years old with a 50m swim, 800m bike, and a 600m run. Each year after you will start to see a slight increase in the length of swimming, cycling, and running
Below are the maximum distances British triathlon recommends for children, youth and juniors doing a triathlon. These are the longest distances allowed based on the child’s age.
British junior triathlon distances
8 years old – 100 m swim / 1.5 km bike / 600 m Run.
9-10 years old – 200 m swim / 4 km bike / 1.2 km Run.
11-12 years old – 300 m swim / 6 km Bike / 1.8 km Run.
13-14 years old – 350 m swim / 8 km Bike / 2.4 km Run.
Other countries such as America and Australia are also similar in distances based on the age of the competitor.
America junior triathlon distances
11-12 years old – 200m Swim / 5-7 km bike / 2 km run.
12-15 years old – 500m Swim / 10 km bike / 3 km run.
15-18 years old – 750m Swim / 20 km bike / 5 km run.
Australian junior triathlon distances
12-13 years old – 300m Swim / 10 km bike / 2 km run.
14-15 years old – 400m Swim / 15 km bike / 4 km run.
16-19 years old – 1500m Swim / 40 km bike / 10 km run.
As you can see, are plenty of opportunities for young children and juniors to compete in triathlon from age 8 upwards.
Kids Triathlon Gear – UPDATED 2021
Kids need triathlon gear just like the rest of us, but the trouble is, it’s expensive, and they often grow out of it fast. So if you are looking to invest in some kid’s triathlon gear it is important to look for value for money.
If it is their first triathlon, you may be able to get away with some basic sports apparel. But it is important if the child is going to continue on the triathlon journey that you look into investing in the correct gear. Brands like Zoot Sports and Zone3 offer a range of unisex triathlon clothes that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Remember, unlike adults, it’s important to keep it a simple and fun activity, without the need to stock up on new equipment and gear.
Even though we recommend using triathlon gear, it is not required for shorter distances. Most races can be completed with little to no additional gear in the beginning.
The biggest issue though becomes the swim, and whether it is in open water or a pool. Pool swims only require a set of swim shorts or a swimsuit. However, if the swim is located in a lake you may need to invest in a junior wetsuit.
For shorter swims like 50-100 m, you can often get away with the same gear you use in the pool. But as soon as the distance extends past 300 m you will need to start looking into wetsuits or a tri-suit.
The bike is less of a worry and often children will want to try multiple triathlons before sticking with it. So consider waiting on purchasing a road bike until they already have completed a hand full of triathlons. Most kids are just looking to have fun and have a goal to finish. So any old bike can work as long as it fits correctly and works well.