Posted by: Joe English | May 13, 2008

Question: How old do you have to be to enter an Ironman?

A cyclist at the Ironman World Championships in KonaA reader named Jamie from the United Kingdom wrote in asking what you might think would be an easy question: how old do you have to be to enter an Ironman triathlon?

The answer was a little harder to find than I thought. I spent some time digging through Internet sites, but I didn’t immediately come up with the answer. So I went straight to the source instead. Blair LaHaye, spokesperson for the World Triathlon Corporation confirmed for me that you must be 18 years-old to enter an Ironman Triathlon.

In an e-mail, LaHaye explained that the 18 year requirement is, “our standard age per official rules/regulations in all Ironman events worldwide.”

World Triathlon Corporation is the parent company that produces the events which carry the official “Ironman” and “Ironman 70.3” desginations in their names. WTC also manages the World Championships at both distances.

The “Ironman” distance is defined as a 2.4 mile (3.8KM) swim, 112 mile (180KM) bike, and 26.2 mile (42KM) run.

I also checked with USA Triathlon, governing body of the sport in the USA, and they classify athletes from ages 7-17 years as “youth” competitors. The distances at the various youth classifications are as follows:
– Age 7-10 years: 100M swim, 5KM bike, 1KM run
– Age 11-14 years: 200M swim, 10KM bike, 2KM run
– Age 13-15 years: 400M swim, 10KM bike, 2.5KM run*
– Age 16-19 years: 750M swim, 20KM bike, 5KM run*
* Draft legal cycling at championship events.

There could be exceptions to the rules above, so I would suggest checking with the race director of the individual race that you’re interested in.

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News


  1. Thank you very much Joe, that was very helpfull indeed. Jamie

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