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Your Questions About Olympic Triathlons In Arizona

Donald asks…

my 14-yr old daughter is going to do a double-ironman-triathlon?

swim: 4.9 miles
bike: 224 miles
run: 52 miles

in our city they’re having this competition.
my daughter is very fit.. she runs 5 miles/day.
she told me about this… she wants to do this triathlon.
i told her “its very difficult” but she said she’ll get through it.
the triathalon will take her at least 18 hours (average time)
i dont know if i should let her do this.
i am her mother, and i dont want her to be in pain.
idk… im confused. should i allow her to start training for this huge event?
if she does decide to do it, and she quits in the middle of the race, i’ll make her life miserable with crunches!!! (not kidding)

Mike Rich answers:

I am currently in training for Ironman Arizona and I hope she realizes what she is getting herself into. First of all, if this is a USAT sanctioned event, I am not sure she will be allowed to compete. The minimum age for a USAT sanctioned Ironman distance event is 18. This is because these events are unbelievably difficult and taxing on the body. Exhaustion and dehydration in regular Ironman events have caused well conditioned athletes to completely collapse and even die. An ultra-Ironman is going to cause a toll on her body unlike anything you can ever imagine. It takes well conditioned triathletes years to train and condition themselves for a regular Ironman, but an ultraironman is at a completely different level.

Honestly, I don’t think she should be allowed to do it, although her zeal is great, I do not think she realizes the full extent of what she is getting herself into. This is extremely dangerous. Although running 5 miles a day is a great base, she needs considerable more training. Has she done any other triathlons? If not she needs to do a sprint or Olympic distance first then try a half ironman and then an ironman. She NEEDS to do an Ironman before she attempts a double ironman. She should be able to bike 200 miles at a time, run/walk 50 miles at a time, and swim for over 2 hours before entering this event.

I am typing this fast because I cannot express the danger of a 14 year old doing this event (either male or female, the this is a men’s race answer was way off base, both men and women can compete in these events). Perhaps a good goal for her to start working towards should be to do the event the year she turns 18. She needs about 4 years to prepare for this event. Not only that, but to compete in this event she will need a lot of equipment (wetsuit ~$200, lightweight road bike ~$2000, shoes, tri-suit, gels, bars, juice, bike shoes, googles, hydration packs, training gear, spare tires, spare tubes, CO2 cartridges, etc) the list goes on and on and this should all in the end cost well over $3000 not including race fee entry which will be over $500.

I am sorry I am ranting but I will end this now with these words… This is too dangerous of an event for a person to jump into without IMMENSE training and I do not believe any 14 year old can safely compete in an event of this intensity!!!

By the way you say this event will be 18 hours, there is no way she will complete the course in 18 hours. 18 hours to complete a double ironman would be an amazing time for the top triathletes in the world. For a 14 year old girl expect a time of between 25 and 34 hours. I am not exaggerating with this time. Most ironman distance events see the majority of the people finish between 12 and 17 hours, a sub 12 hour time is pretty impressive and to hold this for an entire addtional ironman would be even more impressive. I would go into the event expecting a 30 hour time.

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