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What to expect from swim, bike, run events and activity

This guidance is to help you prepare for swim, bike, run activity and events in the current Covid-19 environment. Whilst every event will be run differently, depending on the type of event, the space available and the practical measures taken by the event organisers, there will be some common themes that will apply to all events run under British Triathlon Covid-19 requirements. 

Please be aware that any future government imposed local lockdowns may still result in planned events being postponed or cancelled at any time and you should always check with your event organiser to keep up to date. 

This updated guidance only applies in England, for information about Scotland's guidance please visit Triathlon Scotland and for information about Wales' guidance please visit Welsh Triathlon



What should I consider before taking part in an event?

  • Are you fit enough? Have you done enough training? Be aware that your fitness levels may have changed during the lockdown period and you may not be back up to normal fitness levels. You might want to consider a shorter distance or GO TRI event.
  • If you have had Covid-19 at any point, you should consider taking medical advice before taking part in any sporting activity. It may be advisable for you to undergo some form of screening.
  • Do not attend any event if you or anyone in your household has symptoms within the last ten days.
  • You can find a full list of permitted events here.

Changes to entry and pre-event information

  • Everyone attending an event must complete and submit a pre-event health declaration which can be shared on request with the NHS test and trace service. The organiser may need this to be submitted in the week before the event.
  • If you had entered your event prior to lockdown, you should be asked by the event organiser to re-declare your suitability/fitness to take part.
  • Expect event briefings and safety information to be delivered in advance of the event, possibly by video message.
  • Event organisers should only allow online pre-entry to events, with no on the day entry.



Events following British Triathlon Covid-19 requirements:

British Triathlon has developed specific Covid-19 requirements focused on the practical implementation of the key government measures of social distancing and increased hygiene. Event organisers need to demonstrate their application of these additional requirements as part of the permitting process to be issued with a permit.

This means that whatever swim, bike, run format you take part in, you will do so in an individual, draft-illegal/non-drafting time trial format so that you maintain a socially distanced ‘group of one’ at all times. It is anticipated that this will be the format until such time as there is no government requirement for social distancing.

Additionally, for the first four weeks after public indoor pools are open in England, all events that have a swim segment will be non-competitive with no placings/prizes to protect participant welfare by ensuring that all people have uninterrupted access to training in all three disciplines. Duathlon events can be competitive from the restart of events.

At this time, spectators are not permitted to attend events. However, it is acknowledged that in some instances you may need someone to accompany you e.g. from a safeguarding or duty of care perspective. Where non-competing persons are attending, they must adhere to legal gathering limits and maintain social distancing from other people at all times.

Your guiding principles when you are at an event should be:

  • Where possible, keep two metres apart from other people throughout your time at the event venue. Where it is not possible to be two metres away, keep at least one metre apart and take mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission. It is strongly recommended that you wear a face covering at all times apart from when you are competing, unless you are exempt from wearing one.
  • Maintain high standards of hygiene throughout the event – take your own hand sanitiser, wash your hands and try not to touch public areas such as barriers.
  • Arrive and leave the site at the times you are given – many event organisers will only allow participants on site at specific times to manage the flow of people to meet social distancing requirements so support the smooth running of the event by sticking to your allocated times.

Additional items you should take with you are:

  • You will need to ensure you bring the following alongside your usual items:
    • Hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol) and anti-viral wipes,
    • A face covering to wear when you are not competing,
    • Additional water bottles, fluids and snacks to carry on the bike and run,
    • Warm clothes to change into,
    • A soft sided bag to place at your racking location in transition,
  • For a full list of suggested usual items, click the link to the detailed guidance below.


There are some common themes you will find at an event following Covid-19 requirements. We have listed our advice below to help you navigate your way through the new look event environment. 


Covid-19 requirement: maintain social distancing and minimise touch points

What you need to do: if there is a queue, maintain social distancing. It is likely you will only be asked to produce your membership card and pick up a race pack. It is strongly recommended you wear a face covering (unless you are exempt from wearing one) and you might also want to wear gloves.


Covid-19 requirement: these should be removed to maintain social distancing.

What you need to do: all briefings should have been provided pre-event to avoid people gathering in groups on the day. Make sure you read/watch this and have asked any questions before arriving at the event.

Changing & Bag Drop

Covid-19 requirement: both should be removed to maintain social distancing and minimise touch points

What you need to do: arrive changed. Bring spare clothes to change into afterwards in a soft sided bag that you will be able to place at your racking location in transition.


Covid-19 requirement: maintain social distancing,

What you need to do: only rack when allowed, follow any prescribed flows and minimise time at your racking location.


Covid-19 requirement: whatever format of swim, bike, run you take part in, you will be set off in an individual rolling start with space between you and the next person to maintain social distancing

What you need to do: Arrive at the start at your allocated time.

Swim, Bike, Run

Covid-19 requirement: maintain social distancing.

What you need to do: whilst taking part, maintain the following minimum distances between yourself and other participants  Swim: 2 metres; Bike: 10 metres (standard distance or shorter) 12 metres (middle or long distance); Run: 2  metres. Even when at these distances, consider additional space based on the aerosol effect that sees the expelling of droplets and look to avoid being positioned directly behind the person in front of you. Overtaking is possible but social distancing of at least 2 metres should be maintained whilst doing so.

Aid Stations

Covid-19 requirement: these are likely to be removed to maintain social distancing and minimise touch points.

What you need to do: bring more snacks, gels and bottles of fluids to the event and carry them with you on the bike and run.


Covid-19 requirement: maintain social distancing

What you need to do: remove your own timing chip and place it in the receptacles provided; move through the finish chute to avoid crowding.

Recovery Area

Covid-19 requirement: maintain social distancing and minimise touch points.

What you need to do: only sit or lie down where there is space; if there are medals/gifts, these are likely to be self-service – only touch what you are taking.

Post Finish

Covid-19 requirement: maintain social distancing and hygiene.

What you need to do: clean your hands thoroughly and collect your equipment from transition according to instructions from the event organiser. Put your face covering back on as soon as you are able to.

Prize Giving

Covid-19 requirement: only after the first four weeks from public indoor pools reopening in England can placings be made and prizes awarded. 

What you need to do: any prizes may be sent in the post to minimise groups gathering and touchpoints so check with your event organiser.

If you experience any Covid-19 symptoms, please take the steps outlined in the government guidance here.

If you still have questions, are new to the sport, or are looking for more detailed guidance, please download the pdf below which expands on the points covered above.


Back to Return to Play page


Following the UK Government's roadmap, British Triathlon and Triathlon England have detailed what is anticipated to be permitted for events for each step.

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