The Search for the New

Remember when you took up triathlon? It was new. It was fresh. It was a challenge that lifted you out of the ordinary. It caught on like fire and, inevitably, after 44 years, there are millions of triathletes around the world. And a lot of people have a long list of sprints, Olympic half and full Ironman races under their belts. They have mastered the format but wonder: Is this all there is? Where is the allure of the new that drew them in the first place?

Part of the charm and DNA of triathlon was the sport’s early audacity and resemblance to the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland movie where kids said “Let's put on a show!” Happily, there are innovators putting on new multisport shows at all levels, aiming at giving triathlon new legs, a new liftoff, a new life.

After a little research which began with swim-bike-run but widened the net to include substitutions in order, different surfaces, and alternatives to swimming. These events include single sport variations, dual sport, super short and very long. And in the interest of drawing in newcomers and piquing the adrenaline of veterans, we found something for beginners, moderately experienced triathletes and multisport experts we will present in a three part series.

In part one for beginners, we found five events that offered alternatives to the standard swim that included SUP paddling and canoes and kayaks. We found one that welcomes Hispanic and Native American women. There is one fit for the kid in all of us that starts with a desert resort waterslide and a short swim into the current of a Lazy River. And another women’s race in Philadelphia that began with a pool swim and drew more than 1300 entries – proving that stepping out of the box is a bankable concept.

3rd annual TriZona Super Sprint and MEGA Sprint Triathlon
Sunday, August 25

Looking for a gentle and fun introduction to triathlon that won’t intimidate kids not already involved in highly competitive sports leagues? Want something that mom and dad can join the kids as a team for an active day swimming, biking and running (or hiking) in a beautiful desert resort? The TriZona Super Sprint and Sprint Triathlon at the JW Marriott Star Pass Resort in Tucson is a great place to start a triathlon habit.

It starts with a time trial start down a waterslide into 3 to 5 minute swim against a gentle current in the resort’s Lazy River. The individuals and teams then mount run-what-you-brung bikes including laid back beach cruisers and bikes with training wheels and tassels on a 3.6-mile bike trek on well paved gently rolling roads. It concludes with a one-mile walk, trot or canter along beautiful Marriott trails framed by Saguaro cacti leading to a catered post-race fest.

Site: JW Marriott Star Pass Resort
Tucson, Arizona
S Super slide + 3-5 minute upstream swim B 3.7 mi. / R 1 mi.
Race Director: Julie Stark
Tel: (520) 241-9141

Mighty Mujer Triathlon
April 13, 2019

Following in the footsteps of the all-women triathlons like the Danskin and Iron Girl series, the Mighty Mujer Triathlon promotes empowerment for women and especially encourages participation by Latino and Native American women. The scale is smaller and teams are encouraged, building camaraderie and bolstering courage. The bike and run legs wind through the neighborhood as competitors are bathed in encouragement and applause on their way to the finish.

This El Paso event begins with a 300 yard pool swim and continues on the Super Sprint course with a 9.3 mile bike leg and 2 mile run and for the Sprint with an 18 mile bike and 3 mile run.

El Paso, Texas - Memorial Aquatic Center
Super Sprint: Pool swim 300 yd. / B 9.3 mi. / R 2 mi.
Sprint: Pool swim 300 yd. / B 18 mi. / R 3 mi.
3 person and 2 person relays
Fee: $110.
Contact: Race Director Gabriela Gallegos email:

Half Moon Bay Triathlon
April 13, 2019

California’s Central Coast features striking shoreline beauty – but if you are a newcomer to the sport and lacking a wetsuit, you might be a little wary of cold water in the spring. Standup Paddling may be your answer. SUP had a meteoric rise in popularity on its own as a recreational activity, has been popular as an alternative method for water safety monitors at open water swim races and triathlons - and as a standalone competitive race mode. Now it’s been incorporated as a replacement for the swim leg in a triathlon – perhaps to lure budding triathletes who are nervous about open water swimming. Or just because it is fun. Race organizers offer economical rentals on site.

Half Moon Bay is world famous as the site of the Maverick’s Big Wave contest, but those days are rare and spring water conditions are much more likely to be calm and a pleasant venue for stand up paddling.

Type: Standup Paddle-Bike-Run
Place: Half Moon Bay, California
Sprint: SUP 1 mile / Bike 10 mile / Run 5k
Olympic: SUP 2 mile / Bike 40k / Run 10k
Fees: Sprint: $115 to $155, Olympic: $150 to $195

Missouri Breaks Triathlon
July 6

Would you like to combine a triathlon with a taste of what the Old West explorers and frontiersmen like Lewis and Clark experienced? Instead of buying a neoprene wetsuit and goggles to navigate a suburban lake, why not ditch the short swim and paddle a canoe 20 miles through a wilderness river to start off your triathlon?

The inaugural Missouri Breaks Triathlon was run July 7, 2018 in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument and along the Wild and Scenic Missouri River. Now that the government shudown is over, the 2019 event the course and facilities will be prepared and monitored by Federal Bureau of Land Management officials.

The river portion consists of a 20 mile paddle from Fort Benton to the Wood Bottom boat launch. Life jackets are required and a chase team will follow the race to ensure that everyone makes it off the river. At the transition, race staff and volunteers wrangle the boats into a secure holding area. The run takes participants from the Wood Bottom boat ramp up to the top of Rowe Bench and straight up to the bike transition zone. There is a substantial climb out of the river bottom then flat with a few rollers and downhill to the transition. Once you reach the top of the hill there will be two way traffic with runners and bikers on the Rowe Bench Road.

Site: Fort Benton, Montana
Paddle 20 mi. / Run 3.4 mi. / Bike 29 mi
Categories: Solo Kayak, Solo Canoe; Kayak Team of 3, Canoe Team of 4, Tandem Canoe Team of Information:
Once the race registration is set, it will be online at
Entry fee: To be determined.
Entries last year: 136. No limit this year.
Race directors: Tim Dwyer with Friends of Missouri Breaks Monument and a representative of Bureau of Land Management.

Hand and Stone Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon – pool swim
July 7, 2019

Last year's very popular inaugural race sold out in a few weeks and the 2019 event sp;d pout in a few weeks last year. We are including this event in our five part series because it is special and we would like to urge people to sign up for the next edition. Contact Delmo Sports for 2020 sign up date.

Last July Delmo Sports produced the Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon, a first-year race. Why is this notable? No prize money, no pros, these folks aren’t a Slowtwitch Partner.

The logistics. Competitors traveled a serpentine route, under the lane lines and into the next lane over every lap. Eight lanes times 50 meters equals 400 meters, which was the length of the swim. Usually in pool triathlons the swim takes place last, because there’s just no room for all those people. In this race the swim took place first. How? This raced used a streaming start, with swimmers self-seeded according to their abilities. "Waves will be self-seeded by ability. Athletes will enter the water 2 at a time.”

This urban all women’s sprint triathlon features a 400 meter swim in the Kelly Outdoor Pool, a 9 mile bike on closed to traffic roads, and a scenic 5K through Fairmount Park. This year, after a sold out 1,350 entries debut, it’s back with a smorgasbord of ways to swim-bike-run: Individual sprint triathlon, relay sprint triathlon, individual sprint duathlon, relay sprint duathlon, individual aquabike sprint, relay aquabike sprint.

S 400 meter pool / B 9 mi. / R 5k
Race Director: Stephen Del Monte
2018 race attendance 1,350. And 650 first timers.
2019 is sold out. 2020 signup will be available shortly after the race.