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What is an Aquathlon?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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An aquathlon is a multi-sport event which combines swimming and running. This event appears to relatively recent, with the first organized aquathlons taking place around the late 1990s, but it has become immensely popular among athletes at a wide range of experience levels. Many areas sponsor aquathlons every year; to find one in your region, trying searching for “aquathlon” and your region in your favorite search engine.

Like other multi-sport events, an aquathlon can cover a range of distances, and it is not uncommon to see multiple distance choices in one race, catering to athletes at various levels of experience. A typical aquathlon has two stages, a run and a swim, although some have two running stages. The runs may take place on trails, beaches, or tracks, while swimmers can compete in open water environments or pools.

You may have noticed that an aquathlon is very similar to a triathlon, except that an aquathlon does not have a cycling component. Many race organizers like aquathlons for this very reason, as the elimination of cycling from the competition cuts down on logistics and space requirements dramatically. Some athletes also appreciate it, as training for cycling competitions can get expensive and grueling.

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Some high-level athletes specialize in aquathlons, dominating the sport and undergoing extensive training. Others use aquathlons as part of their overall training technique, while less experienced athletes can use an aquathlon to begin to explore multi-sport competition. Both running and swimming are also very healthy methods of exercise which can be tailored to a range of physical conditions, so competing in an aquathlon can also be a way to have fun while getting fit.

You may also hear the term “aquathon” in reference to an aquathlon. Like other multisport events, there is no break between the legs in an aquathlon, with athletes being pushed to finish in as brief a time as possible. The sport also requires minimal equipment; a swimsuit and running shoes as basics, with add-ons like goggles for the swimming stage and shorts for modesty during the run being fairly common. In competitions with an open swim component in the ocean, contestants may be asked to wear wetsuits for safety.

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