Why are triathlons becoming more popular?
The popularity of triathlon in the past few years has been one of the most interesting sports phenomena in history. In the past 10 years, the race participants have increased more than 300%. There was a huge public interest in the Sydney and Beijing Olympic Triathlon races. More and more people are signing up for triathlons race every year and the numbers of sign ups have grown from about 1,000 to 30,000 competitors in ten years.
Triathlon is a fairly new sport, the first recorded race (Ironman race) was held on September 24, 1974, at Mission Bay, San Diego, California in the USA. The first British Triathlon however wasn't until 1983 at Kirtons Farm, Reading in Berkshire. The first triathlon was made up of a 5 . 3 - mile run, a 5-mile bike ride, and a 600 yard swim in the ocean and was organized by the San Diego Track and Field Club. The event captured the attentions of the public and it was the beginning of triathlon popularity.
To a non-athletic observer a triathlon can seem like a torture fest. So you have to ask the question - Why are they becoming more and more popular? Several reasons come to mind -
1. The all over body workout :
Many of us are being encouraged to add more variety to our training, to try some different things while working out and have varied workout program. Triathlon gives the ultimate opportunity to express this – triathletes run, bike and swim every time.
2. It doesn't favour any one particular individual :
The three disciplines (swim, cycle, run) allow people who are not very good in one aspect of the race to compete in the three disciplines. Thereby, allowing more people with a variety of talents to participate offer a more interesting aspect to the race.
3. There's more to it than meets the eye:
The fact you have to master 3 different sports or at least become reasonably good at the 3 sports makes the training far more interesting than just training how to swim, run or bike alone. Each discipline is a separate sport in itself and requires a huge amount of dedication to excel. Pushing yourself in all three can be highly demanding, rewarding, frustrating on times and of course it comes with a greater amount of injury risk than if you were to train purely for one aspect of the sport.
4. You can push yourself:
Triathlon provides a great opportunity to test your limit. Some of the more elite longer distance triathlons are insanely punishing and finishing such an event can be a hugely rewarding experience. The 'high' of finishing the event is what keeps many racers coming back every year. Even the shorter distance sprint triathlons can be highly demanding purely because of the shorter nature athletes push themselves to complete them faster every year.
5. Health benefits:
The health benefits of triathlon training and racing far outweigh the injury risk - there is no doubt about that. However, some of the potential injuries and risk associated with the increased demand, variation of movement and the somewhat opposite muscular function required for the three disciplines is definitely worth mentioning and we will be covering all of that and more in next weeks post!