Multi Disciplined Sports

Multi disciplined sports - Biathlon
Biathlon Athlete Sam Cairns

Most athletes specialise in one sport and train and compete for just that sport. There are some however, who like to take on a little more and train and compete in a few different sports for the same event! These events usually end in ‘thlon’

Let’s look at the different ones starting with 2 sport disciplines and going all the way to the Icosathlon.


A Duathlon is like a triathlon without the swim, so just running and biking. It’s done in the format run-bike-run and broken up into different distances: Sprint distance – 750m/20km/5km (or 400-500m swim if in a pool) Standard distance – 1500m/40km/10km (aka Olympic) Half-Iron or 70.3 – 1900m/90km/21km (Ironman series) Here an example of a Duathlon Athlete


Multi disciplined sports - Biathlon
Biathlon Athlete Scott Dixon at the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria, 2017.

Every watched an old James Bond movie where he is ski racing through a mountain and firing a gun? That’s pretty close to what a Biathlon athlete is! An Olympic sport, it’s a combination of cross-country skiing and target shooting and it’s one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in the world


Multi disciplined sports - Triathlon

Definitely the most popular multi disciplined sport, the swim-bike-run is practised by everyone from novices right up to some of the fittest athletes in sport. Below are the different distances of Triathlon races.

Sprint Triathlon—750 meter (0.465 mile) swim / 20 kilometer (12.5 mi) bike / 5 km (3.1 mi) run

Standard or Olympic Triathlon—1.5 kilometer (0.93 mile) swim / 40km (25 mi) bike / 10 km (6.2 mi) run

Half-Ironman or 70.3 Triathlon—1.9 kilometer (1.2 mile) swim / 90 km (56 mi) bike / 21.1 km (13.1 mi) run

Ironman Triathlon—3.8 kilometer (2.4 mile) swim / 180.2 km (112 mi) bike / 42.2 km (26.2 mi) run.


Multi disciplined sports - Pentathlon
Ulyana Batashova – ranked 1 in World modern pentathlon

It gets more complicated as we go down through the list! The modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport that comprises 5 different events; fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, and a final combined event of pistol shooting and cross country running.


The heptathlon is a summer sporting event that consists of 7 track and field events over a two day period. Heptathlon events are held in the following order – 100 meters hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw and 800 meters. The Olympic heptathlon is a female event.

The different cycling disciplines explained


This is one for super athletes, the Decathlon consists of 10 events, four track and six field events. Track events are 100-meter sprint, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter event, 1500-meter event. Field events are long jump, high jump, shot put, discus throw, javelin throw and pole vault. Decathlon is also a mens and women’s Olympic event and completed over 2 days. It’s quite possibly the most difficult sport of all because of all the skills you need to master.


This one is only reserved for the Ultra Athlete! The Icosathlon, also known the double decathlon, is an ultra multi-event of track and field competition consisting of 20 events contested over two days. This must be one of the most physically demanding sports there is.

The Icosathlon consists of the following events:

Day 1

100 metres, Long jump, 200 metre hurdle, Shot put, 5000 metres. Pause (for 1 hour) 800 metres, High jump, 400 metres, Hammer throw, 3000 meter steeplechase

Day 2

110 metre hurdles, Discus throw, 200 metres, Pole vault, 3000 metres Pause (for 1 hour) 400 metre hurdles, Javelin throw, 1500 metres, Triple jump, 10000 m

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