triathlon, athletic event made up of three contests. Since the 1970s the term has come to mean especially a race combining swimming, bicycling, and running. A notable example is Hawaii's Ironman Triathlon, held since 1978, which features a 2.5-mi (4-km) swim, a 112-mi (180-km) bicycle race, and a 26-mi (42-km) run. Most triathlons, however, especially those held in urban areas, cover shorter distances. The Olympic triathlon, first held in 2000, combines a 1,500-m (.93-mi) swim, a 40-km (24.8-mi) bicycle race, and a 10-km (6.2-mi) run. Another form of triathlon is a women's track-and-field event combining the 100-m dash, the high jump, and the shot put.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.