Is Triathlon A Team Or Individual Sport? What Is Triathlon Relay!

By definition, sport is any competitive physical activity. It is either played in a team or individually. If we talk about triathlon, we can see many of the teams emerging within it.

So, is it as easy as it sounds? Well, not really in a triathlon. Let’s figure out what kind of sport triathlon really is.

Is triathlon a team or an individual sport? Triathlon is traditionally an individual sport. It is played against the clock and the course. However, it is a team sport if it’s in a relay format. Triathlon isn’t really reckoned as an individual sport in literal. The significant relationship of a triathlete with the coach, family, competitors, and training partners has made it a team sport.

A Triathlon team could be referred to as a relay triathlon team or individuals associated with an organization as in a club, country, or a certain brand.

Let us hear what the Norwegian team has to say about it. A discussion with a trio of Kristian Blummenfelt, Gustav Iden & Casper Stornes.

Can You Do an Ironman Triathlon as A Team?

Ironman organizers do not offer the option for the Full Ironman distance. IronMan is traditionally an individual sport. However, the relay option is provided for teams competing in Ironman 70.3 triathlon. In both cases, many triathletes are participating as a team, as in the race together or in the relay if allowed.

The Ironman and Olympic Triathlon have major differences in distances, relay options, and transition time. Check out Is Triathlon an Olympic Sport? Olympic VS Sprint & IRONMAN Triathlon

Triathletes of both disciplines need different training as shown in the video below.

Triathlon distances you can do as a relay

Triathlon distances offer with relay options are as follows:

  • Super Sprint Triathlon
  • Sprint Triathlon
  • Olympic Triathlon
  • Half Ironman Triathlon

“Full Iron Man distance is an individual sport and there is no debate about it. However, teams coming forth in other disciplines are in furtherance of becoming social.”

How Does Triathlon Relay Work?

The relay works in a team. It is as simple as each member performs one of the sport in the event. The timing chip is passed on to the next teammate in a race. The team meets at the “pen” to put on the chip at the end of the first two-sport.

Relay is done with a team of two to three members. Each will perform one or two of the sports. Relays entry fees are quite expensive, but I guess it can always work out if split in three.

But this is only the traditional relay. Recently mixed relay has been growing and gaining traction in the triathlon community. For more on this check out What Is Triathlon Mixed Relay? Traditional VS Mixed Relay!

Why Introducing Relays In Triathlon?

Many triathlons are now offering relays. It is certainly good news for beginners who may be pros in one of the disciplines.

They can take part in the sections they are confident with. Secondly, you can take part in it with your friends and family.

Lastly, you can enjoy the event without worrying to play solo in the event.

 Amy who has finished seven IronMan and many other races say

In my experience, the triathlon relay day is very relaxing and fun. I’ve only done it twice once for Florida 70.3 and once for a sprint on Key Biscayne but it was a blast both times.


How do Triathlon relay teams compete?

The team of professionals in all three legs can make you win relays. Groups are competing against each other in relays. The skilled and highly professional international teams compete for their state. A three-member team race against a two-three-member team.

Interestingly, the basic ingredients for the team are unity and training sessions along with members. It helps to coordinate and know the interest and expertise of a triathlete.

What is a Triathlon Mixed Relay Team ?

Mixed team relay widely differs from common relays. It consists of four triathletes, two men and two women. The team competes in a way that each member completes a super sprint (mini-triathlon), continued by the next teammate in a row.

The sequence is female-male-female-male for this relay. The first team with all four triathletes who have completed the course wins the race. (source).

Check out the video below for and competitive Olympic Mixed Triathlon relay highlights,

For more on Triathlon Option and typical Distances & timing, check out out our post titled Triathlon Distances & Average Timings Analysis (Infographic); Pick Your Right Fight !

Best triathlon teams

Let us go through some best triathlon teams remembered for their bigger achievements.

  • The BMC Pro Triathlon Team

Seven professional athletes have established the most professional team. They won 109 races out of 217. The team has won more than 50 races in 2021.

  • U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team

The team has five athletes who represented the United States at Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. The major achievements and experiences include the World Triathlon Championship Series, World Triathlon Cup medals, and a few World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series.

  • Commerzbank Triathlon Team

This is a German team of international triathletes. The team was introduced in 2007 by winning the Iron man World Championship twice. Their first achievement was in the year 2009. However, after three years of getting renowned in the triathlon circuit, the team showed up for the last time in 2011 at Ironman Western Australia.

  • Tri Dubai

TriDubai is a triathlon community founded to support Dubai Triathletes and was co-founded by Roy Nasr 

  • Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team

The team is founded by three professional triathletes. Participation in long-distance and Olympic triathlon is the center of attention for this team. The appearance of this team in Abu Dhabi International Triathlon and Ironman Hawaii holds great significance in its own history.


We can conclude that according to common practice, triathlon is played solo. But we have many pro triathlon teams arising in this field these days. You may think

So, is joining a team worth it or not? Triathletes in a team can use each other in a competition. It helps a triathlete to assess one’s performance, and the amount of improvement lacking in it. Teammates are trained together. And they become aware of each other’s strengths.

It is interesting to note that relay has taken triathlon by storm. We cannot ignore the fact competing in relays also demands so much individual effort.

Also check out our take on Are Triathlons Harder Than Marathons? Alternatives & Why To OR Not To Race One


An extreme triathlete who have competed in dozens of triathlons including IronMans and Extreme triathlons.

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