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Why you should consider adding a duathlon to your next event

by USA Triathlon

Below, please read a letter from Dave Lasorsa, USA Triathlon Multisport Committee Chair, who says to consider adding duathlon to your future events. Also included is a testimonial from Carrie Panek of KOZ Events in San Diego. 

Dear Race Director,

As Chair of the USAT Multisport Committee I am writing to you to encourage your consideration of adding a duathlon to your race schedule. With the cancellation and/or postponement of most multisport races during the spring and summer, we know that this is a difficult time. At the same time, athletes are anxious to return to competition when it is safe to do so. 

Given that most pools and many beaches have been closed and training opportunities for swimming limited, a duathlon may be the ideal way for athletes to use their running and biking training. Many have been participating in virtual duathlons and have become accustomed to the run/bike/run format. Why not carry this forward with actual racing?

This past winter, our Multisport Committee sent out a survey to a number of Race Directors who offer multi-event (i.e. triathlons, duathlons, aquathons, etc.) and/or multi-formats (sprint, standard, novice, etc.). Those who responded stated that adding duathlons to a current triathlon and adding differing formats increased their participation numbers with only a slight increase in workload for staff and volunteers.  

To increase participation, some things you may like to consider:

  • Holding a duathlon at the same time as a triathlon, using the same transition areas.
  • Holding a separate duathlon race, especially for fall events.
  • Expanding formats and divisions to include:

- Sprint
- Standard
- Super-Sprint
- Novice/Youth
- Relays
- Clydesdale/Athena

  • Hold virtual duathlons.  Having athletes involved and shooting for goals will keep up their interest and fitness for the time when racing resumes.

Although there is much uncertainty as to when the current crisis will abate, we hope that you will consider planning now for the eventual return to normalcy. There are number of very successful duathlons around the country and our Multisport Committee members can help get you in touch with these race directors if you need examples of stand-alone events or combination triathlon/duathlon events.  See the below testimonial from a race director who added duathlons to her triathlon events.

If you need further help on where to turn for resources and advice, you may contact eventservices@usatriathlon.org.


Dave Lasorsa
Chair, USAT Multisport Committee

Testimonial from Carrie Panek, KOZ Events

The San Diego Triathlon Series offers Duathlon events at five out of six of our triathlons. Our duathletes have a great following, are very competitive and are included in our points series. Also, duathlon is a valuable race to offer those new to the sport and to those who lack good swimming skills. At a recent half marathon expo when people were asked about doing a triathlon, many answered “I could never do a triathlon.” When asked why they said, “I can’t swim,” or “triathlons are way too hard" (because they think all triathlons are IRONMAN-distance events).

Many of the athletes were excited to hear about duathlons and about shorter distance events. Offering triathlons, duathlons, and aquabikes at our events along with educating the public about all the race types offered is a valuable tool to raise attendance at our events.

Carrie Panek
VP Marketing / Owner
KOZ Events

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