Has Triathlon Broken Its Obsession With Iron-Distance Racing?

March 14, 2024

Before we trigger short-course devotees, there is no need for a spoiler alert. The spellbindingly obvious answer to this is, “Yes.” If you do triathlon – any triathlon, of any distance – you’re a triathlete. Just ask 2008 Olympic champion Emma Frodeno (née Snowsill), the great Aussie being evidence of the fact that some of the greatest triathletes ever never stepped up to Ironman. Or Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, who has done (and won) just about everything in triathlon – yet has never taken on the challenge of 140.6 miles.

Still, we encounter the trope all the time: “You’re a triathlete? Have you done the Hawaii Ironman?” The triathlon-Ironman entanglement lingers – particularly from people from outside the sport – making some triathletes feel pressured to make a full-distance pilgrimage to truly feel triathlon is part of their DNA. But that’s changing as more triathletes are opting for shorter distances. Triathlete