Professional & Elite multisport

Pushing the limits


What is Multisport?

The sport of “Triathlon” encompasses a whole collection of formats outside of the standard “swim, bike, run” that are collectively referred to as “Multisport”.  The Multisport disciplines are not Olympic or Paralympic sports, but provide exciting, challenging and unique opportunities to engage.  There is something for everyone from those looking for an epic test of endurance on the long distance courses to those who love being off the beaten track in the mountains, to those who love to swim, bike or run but not all three together!  There is even a winter sport tucked into the Multisport fold.  See the sections below for more information on each format.

Cross Triathlon

Cross Triathlon

Cross Triathlon is an off-road version of the standard triathlon format of swim, bike, run.  Mountain biking and trail running are substituted in for an exciting and challenging cross-country experience.  The run portion often includes unique features to add some extra grit.

The ITU Competition Rules outline several distance options for this event as follows:

Team Relay
Swim – 200 to 250m
Bike – 4 to 5km
Run – 1.2 to 1.6km
Age Minimum – 15

Swim – 500m
Bike – 10 to 12km
Run – 3 to 4km
Age Minimum – 16

Swim – 1 to 1.5km
Bike – 20 to 30km
Run – 6 to 10km
Age Minimum – 18

Cross Triathlon is included in the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival.  The Age Group and Elite events are typically over the standard distance.  Junior and para athletes compete on a sprint course.

XTERRA brand events are the most commonly recognized cross triathlon events in the country, and includes a professional or elite field.  Canada is home to several XTERRA events, including:

XTERRA Victoria – Victoria, BC
XTERRA Quebec – Quebec City, QC
XTERRA Conquer the Crater – Sudbury, ON
XTERRA Canmore – Canmore, BC
XTERRA Sleeping Giant – Thunder Bay, ON

Long Distance Triathlon

Long Distance Triathlon

Long Distance Triathlon mirrors the standard triathlon format of swim, bike, run.  The ITU Competition Rules for this event dictate a minimum age of 18 to participate, and provide a range for the required distance for each element as follows:

Swim – 1.9 to 3km
Bike – 100 to 200km
Run – 10km to 42.2km

Long Distance Triathlon is included in the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival for both Age Group and Elite athletes. Distances are typically approximately a 3km swim, and 120km bike and a 30km run.

IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 brand events are the most commonly recognized races that closely align with this format, although neither is perfectly within the distances outlined above.  IRONMAN 70.3 is typically a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike and a 21.1km run.  A full distance IRONMAN is typically a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike and a 42.2km run.  Canada is home to several IRONMAN events including:

Subaru IRONMAN/IRONMAN Canada – Penticton, BC
Subaru IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria – Victoria, BC
IRONMAN 70.3 Calgary – Calgary, AB
Subaru IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka – Muskoka, ON
Subaru IRONMAN/IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant – Mont-Tremblant, QC



Aquabike is the same as a Long Distance Triathlon without the running component.  Participants complete the swim and bike disciplines in the distances outlined in the above section.  If the event is held in conjunction with another event, participants are often given the option to complete a short run from transition to the finish line so that they can cross.  However, the event is officially complete when the athlete re-enters transition from the bike course.

Aquabike is included in the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival for Age Group athletes.  As the Aquabike is officially a long distance event, the minimum age requirement is 18.



Duathlon is the perfect sport for non-swimmers!  The event consists of a run / bike / run with several distance options, with the following as the most common:

Sprint Duathlon
Run – 5km
Bike – 20km
Run – 2.5km
Minimum Age: 16

Standard Duathlon
Run – 5 to 10km
Bike – 30 to 40km
Run – 5km
Minimum Age: 18

There are team relay, middle and long distance events also included in the ITU Competition Rules, but they are not typically offered in Canada. Both sprint and standard duathlon are included in the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival for both Age Group and Elite athletes. The Sprint event is typically draft-legal for all, making for a very exciting format to race and spectate as riders work within their packs for position.



Don’t like to cycle? Aquathlon is for you.

As per the ITU Competition Rules, Aquathlon has a “regular” and a “cold water” format.  In Canada, the cold water model is the most common as most open water swim venues have a water temperature of under 22 degrees Celsius. In this case, the event is a swim / run rather than a run / swim / run.  The following distances are most common:

Standard Distance (Cold Water)
Swim – 1km
Run – 5km
Minimum Age: 16

Long Distance (Cold Water)
Swim – 2km
Run – 10km
Minimum Age: 18

Aquathlon is included in the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival for both Age Group and Elite athletes. The race distance is typically the standard in either the regular or cold water formats.

Winter Triathlon

Winter Triathlon is the perfect event for Canadians!  There are two formats defined in the ITU Competition Rules:

S3 Winter Triathlon

In Canada, the preferred event is the S3 Winter Triathlon, which consists of:

Standard Distance:
Run – 4 to 6km
Skate – 10 to 14km
Cross-Country Ski – 7 to 9km
Minimum Age: 16

Winter Triathlon

Winter Triathlon is the more popular format internationally, and consists of cross-country running, mountain biking and cross-country skiing.  There are several distances to choose from:

Cross-Country Run – 3 to 4km
Mountain Bike – 5 to 6km
Cross-Country Ski – 5 to 6km
Minimum Age: 16

Cross-Country Run – 7 to 9km
Mountain Bike – 12 to 14km
Cross-Country Ski – 10 to 12km
Minimum Age: 18

There is a stand-alone ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship event for both Age Group and Elite athletes.  It does NOT currently include the S3 Winter Triathlon format.

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Selection Criteria / International Competition Card (ICC)

The events in the ITU Multisport World Championships include:

  • ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships
  • ITU Duathlon World Championships
  • ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships
  • ITU Aquathlon World Championships


Team Selection:
For the full Team Selection Criteria please click here.


International Competition Cards (ICC):
If you are planning to race as an ELITE triathlon or multisport athlete at any international ITU events, you must hold an International Competition Card.  Please note that IRONMAN is now fully aligned with the ITU, and any athlete hoping to obtain an IRONMAN pro card must also hold a valid ICC.  Click here for more information.

Meet some of Canada’s Top Multisport Athletes



Triathlon Canada Nation. We can. We will.


Triathlon Canada

The official start line for triathlon in Canada, leading some on a path to the podium and inspiring others to achieve their personal best.

Triathlon Canada
121 - 1925 Blanshard St.
Victoria, BC
Canada  V8T 4J2
Telephone: 250.412.1795
Fax: 250.412.1794
Office Hours: Daily 09:00–17:00(PST)

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