Super League Triathlon is a series of exclusive elite races which follow non-standard distances and take place during triathlon's traditional 'off-season'. The courses are short and tight and there are live eliminations, in an attempt to make triathlon more spectator-friendly and more exciting for TV audiences.
Each race involves a swim, bike and run element as with standard triathlon, however the races feature additional rules and eliminations in an aim to test athletic ability, increase viewer excitement and increase the popularity of triathlon worldwide.
All photos credited to Darren Wheeler thatcameraman.com
Origins of Super League Triathlon
Super League Triathlon (SLT) was conceived by two-time Ironman world champion Chris McCormack, alongside Belgian businessman Michael D’Hulst and Russian venture capitalist billionaire Leonid Boguslavsky and showcased its debut race in 2017.
Super League Triathlon was created with the aim of testing athletes' abilities in each discipline of a triathlon (swim, bike, run) but not in the usual way. To do this, the league consists exclusively of races that do not follow the standard triathlon convention. Each race is designed to test different aspects of an athlete's ability. All races are based on short loops which leads to fast and aggressive styles of racing, much like crit racing in cycling. The short loops and tight courses also mean the races are more spectator-friendly and can attract more attention to this sport.
At each location – currently Jersey, Malta, Mallorca, Singapore – a short loop for each of the swim, bike, and run is set around a central transition area and each race uses those loops in different variations depending on the race.
Super League Triathlon Races
The Triple Mix sees the three disciplines of triathlon mixed up into different variations – swim-bike-run; run-bike-swim; bike-swim-run. Each race is completed in quick succession with a 10-minute break between for rest and to prepare equipment for the next stage. The first two stages are mass starts with the third being a pursuit with start times based on the sum of the previous two, meaning the first athlete over the line of the third stage wins the Triple Mix.
Three short triathlons are raced but at the end of each triathlon, the slowest athletes are eliminated and do not start the next stage. After the first stage, the 15 fastest athletes race again then the top ten from the second stage advance to the third stage where the order over the line is the given order of the Eliminator.
The Enduro is three super-sprint distance triathlons completed back-to-back. The last two athletes into transition after each discipline are eliminated.
The field is split in two by a random draw and each half races a short triathlon with the first five from each half advancing along with the two fastest finishers not to automatically qualify. Those who advance then race a shorter enduro race consisting of two short triathlons i.e. a swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run race.
The Equalizer is a two-stage race consisting of an individual cycling time trial for the first stage then the second stage is a swim-run-swim-bike-run and is raced pursuit-style with the time gaps from the previous time trial.
If an athlete is at any time 90 seconds down from first place, they are eliminated from the event. This is to keep the focus of the race at the front and to avoid athletes getting lapped and interfering with the race due to the short loops used for the course.
In all races, the swim is open-water and the cycling is draft-legal.
How To Qualify & Race In Super League Triathlon
Any professional and elite triathlete can compete to qualify in the Super League Triathlon. This is an opportunity for the next generation of superstar athletes to score a Super League Triathlon contract and race against the top athletes in the world.
Age Groupers can also compete to qualify; as of Jersey 2018, age groupers are invited to race either a Super Sprint or Enduro event on the same course as the elites over the same weekend.