Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Are Triathlon 'marathons' Really Marathons?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Are Triathlon 'marathons' Really Marathons?

According to a recent article on the Vienna Marathon website, they may not be. A properly measured Marathon course should be 42.195 metres long and be measured properly. Triathlons on the other hand, allow deviations from the rules of up to ten per cent. That represents a shortening of the marathon distance of up to 4.2 kilometres!

According to Hugh Jones of AIMS, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races....“Triathlon courses cannot be counted as officially measured distances unless the same procedures are carried out as for road races”. AIMS are one of the main bodies behind the accurate measuring of Marathon courses making sure that the Marathon really is 42,195 metres in length. To be more exact: it is certain that a marathon is at least 42,195 metres long. This is because one thousandth of the distance is added to the measured course to ensure that there is no possibility that the prescribed distance falls short. In the case of a marathon, that is 42.2 metres.

The rules of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) permit considerable reductions: “Minor deviations in the individual disciplines for reasons of local conditions and/or the difficulty of the course are perfectly acceptable." According to the rules of the German Triathlon Union, deviations at championships are permitted to account for a maximum ± 10%. If the 10% rule is applied to a privately licensed IRONMAN competition, the “Marathon Distance” of 38 kilometres can be “short” and yet still be considered as conforming to the rules.

There have been attempts in Britain to measure running distances at triathlons according to the same rules as in running. Unfortunately nothing has come of this, as the AIMS expert Hugh Jones reports. "To present a 38 km run as a course over the marathon distance is a gross deception to participants and public. Any spectator at a long distance triathlon who doesn’t know better, thinks that the participants are running the same distance as at the London, New York or Berlin Marathon. But that is not the case."

The original article can be seen at

1 comment:

jane said...

I think people who manage to complete a marathon are amazing but people who manage it after swimming f
or 3 miles and cycling for hundreds command huge respect. Therefore I think squabbling over two to three miles is a liitle silly! Just my view:)