Disability Triathlon

Triathlon is a multi-sport event in which participants complete a continuous swim, cycle and run with transitions in between to change kit. Disability triathlon describes the growing sector of adults and children with a disability who are taking part in triathlon.  The emphasis of disability triathlon is inclusivity and with a growing number of disabled people wanting to take part in triathlon, our clubs welcome new members all year round and we also work with partners, including Scottish Disability Sport, to host come and tri and disability specific events.

 

 

At Scottish events, every effort is made to include opportunities for all classes (listed below) to participate, but it may not be possible, if for example the run section is off road or the bike or run section is very steep, making it difficult for wheelchair competitors. Medals may not be awarded in paratriathlon classes and formal classification is not essential.  The focus is instead on taking part, and fun.

The sport is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world and with the inclusion of Paratriathlon at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and at the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 2018, disability triathlon is really starting to take off.

There are nine sport classes in paratriathlon:

  • PTWC1 – Most impaired wheelchair users. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment; Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to:  muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis.
  • PTWC2 – Least impaired wheelchair users. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment; Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to:  muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis.
  • PTS2 – Severe impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.
  • PTS3 – Significant impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.
  • PTS4 – Moderate impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.
  • PTS5 – Mild impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement..
  • PTVI1 – Includes athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception. One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.
  • PTVI2 – Includes athletes who are more severe partially sighted athletes. One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.
  • PTVI3 – Includes athletes who are less severe partially sighted athletes. One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.

Both PTWC1 and PTWC2 classes compete in the same PTWC Medal Event. All the ambulant classes (PTS2-PTS5) compete in their own medal event and the three visual impaired classes (PTVI1, PTVI2 and PTVI3) compete into the PTVI medal event.

For a description of all classes please link to the IPC’s Laymen’s Guide for Paralympic Summer Sports.

ITU has implemented some modifications to the classification system that was introduced in 2014 after further research was conducted to address certain aspects of the previous system. The research project is an ongoing project for both physical and vision impairments.

Paratriathlon races are contested over the “sprint” distance:  750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

Duathlon races are also contested over the “sprint” distance:  5km run, 20km bike and 2.5km run.

Athletes with a disability who are outside this classification system can still take part in triathlon events but there is no formal paratriathlon pathway.

How to get involved?

To get involved in triathlon, use our Find a Club page to find your nearest club.  Then contact the club to enquire about going along or simply turn up to one of their training sessions.  Make sure you explain to the coaches your ability levels so they know what you can do so they can make adaptations for you to be able to join in with the club session.

Furthermore, if you fancy getting involved in coaching, officiating or volunteering at your local club, get in touch with your local club contact or check out or coaching, officiating and volunteering pages.

What do I need?

You may be surprised to know that you don’t need lots of fancy, expensive kit to get involved in triathlon.  Basic requirements are:

  • Swimsuit & goggles (plus a wetsuit if you plan on doing open water swimming)
  • A road worthy bike and helmet
  • Shorts, t-shirt & trainers

For more information on your first triathlon, check out our FAQs.

However, depending on your disability, you may require additional, specialised equipment, such as a hand cycle or a suitable prosthesis.  For advice and guidance with this, contact your local Scottish Disability Sport Regional Manager or Branch.

Events

There are a number of way to take part in an event:

  • Triathlon Scotland are delighted to be working with Scottish Disability Sport to deliver a Scottish Para Come & Tri Series. These event are ‘come and try’ event designed for athletes with a disability to try the sport of triathlon in a fun, supported and relaxed environment.  The courses are all contained within the grounds of their venue with plenty of space for athlete support and spectators.  Each participant will receive a medal on completion of each race as a memento.
  • You can also take part in many of the events listed on our event calendar.  It is advisable to contact each race organiser to discuss any additional needs you may have, e.g. a chair poolside to allow you to put your prosthesis on before heading off to transition and your bike.  Where possible, race organisers will accommodate you, however please be aware that not all courses are suitable for some disabilities, e.g. a run course that is not suitable for a wheelchair user due to the surfaces/terrain.
  • Finally there are some events other events across the UK which are designed around the needs of paratriathletes, information on these can be found on the British Triathlon website (link below).

You can also contact us with your details to be advised about our disability events when they are open for booking.  Click here to email our Development Manager.

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