Multi-sport Fun: Something for Everyone!

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By: Joella Baker

In 4 weeks I will be heading to my fifth ITU Long Course World Championship Race.  I will have to swim 2.5 miles, bike 75 miles and run 18.6 miles as I compete for Team USA in Oklahoma City on September 24.  My family lives a multi-sport life.  My son and husband both race triathlons too.   But, what exactly does that mean?  In essence, we swim, we bike, we run and we also kayak and hike.  That is the glory of multi-sport.  It has grown so much that it literally encompasses so many different types of races and events.  Everyone can participate in a multi-sport event.

So what exactly is multi-sport?  A multisport competition is a family of athletic competitions in which athlete’s race in a continuous series of stages or “legs”, and quickly move to the next event trying to get the fastest time they can get. Most multisport events are endurance races, consisting of aerobic activities such cyclingrunningkayaking and even cross-country skiing.  The classic multi-sport event is the triathlon where athletes swim, bike and run in consecutive order. However, now there are so many other options to this sport so many of us love.  Here are examples of each….

The Duathlon:  If you don’t like to swim, you can compete in a duathlon where you run, bike, then run again.  This may be a 3.1 mile run, a 14 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run, as an example.

The Adventure Race:  This is another option for the non-swimmer.  In an adventure race, you might kayak for 2 miles, bike 14 miles and run 3.1 miles, as an example.

The Aqualthon:  If you aren’t crazy about cycling, then this is your best option.  The aqualthon can consist of a swim and run or sometimes a run, swim and run.  Sometimes you may even see an adventure aqualthon where you kayak and run.

The Aqua Bike or Aqua Velo:  These are for the people who don’t want to run or often for triathletes who may be injured and are unable to run.  This is a swim and bike and these can be in a variety of distances from a sprint distance to a full Ironman distance.

The Relay:  If you want to try a multi-sport race with your friends, the relay may be for you.  The relay is a great way for friends to get together and one person swims, another person will bike and another person will run.

Xterra races:  These are multi-sport events done on trails and often consists of swimming or kayaking, mountain biking and running or hiking on trails.

Multi-sport is truly my life.  I race it. I coach it. I hold camps and clinics about multi-sport.  I even organize multi-sport events that include the Mighty Moraine Man Triathlon Festival on September 10 and 11 at Moraine State Park.  Mighty Moraine Man is great because we offer a triathlon, duathlon, aqua bike and even an adventure race.  I also believe in the sport so much that I support other local events that include the Butler Family YMCA Triathlon, the Pittsburgh Triathlon, the Davis Family YMCA Triathlon, The North Park Triathlon, the Edinboro Triathlon, and the Erie Triathlon.  I may not always race in these events, but I am happy to promote them and let others know about them and even have my athlete’s race in these events.

If you want to try something new, consider a multi-sport event.  You don’t have to be fast or a super athlete to race.  You just need some goggles, a bicycle, a helmet and some running shoes, oh, and don’t forget your swim suit.  If you have these items, you can compete in a multi-sport race.  Check one out today and you may find that you love it as much as I do.  Visit or today.