Frequently Asked Questions



Some useful definitions if you are new to the sport of triathlon.

  • Start Waves: Smaller groups of athletes that begin the race every few minutes. Waves are usually determined by age group and gender. Wave starts are more common in races where a large number of athletes are competing.

  • Swim Leg: The part of the race where the athlete swims. The swim leg is the start of the race and it ends once you exit the water before entering the Transition Area. The swim route is marked out using buoys.

  • Sighting: Raising of the head while swimming to look for landmarks or buoys that mark the swim course.

  • Buoy: A floating device that marks the course of the swim leg.

  • Transition Area or Zone: A defined area in which an athlete stores their bicycle and other equipment required to race. This is where the change over from running to cycling and cycling to running occur. The transition from the swim to bike is referred to as T1 and that from the bike to the run is referred to as T2. The overall race time includes time spent in T1 and T2.

  • Cycle or Bike Leg: Part of the race course where the bike is to be ridden. The bike course starts at the Mount Line* and finishes at the Dismount Line*.

  • Mount Line: A designated line at the exit of the Transition Area after which athletes are to mount their bicycles and ride. The Mount Line will be clearly identified by flags/ line/Technical Official, or combinations thereof.

  • Dismount Line: Clearly marked designated line before the entrance to the Transition Area of the bike course. Athletes are required to dismount their bikes and walk/run with their bikes to the bike racks.

  • Drafting: A technique where two or more cyclist’s cycle in a close group to reduce the effect of drag by using the front bicycles slipstream.

  • Tri Bars: (triathlon bars/aero bars) Aerodynamic handlebars that draw the body forward into a tucked position.

  • Run Course: Part of the race course where the athlete is to run. The run course commences at the exit from the Transition Area and finishes at the Finish Line.

  • Splits: The time that it takes to complete a specific distance. In duathlon, splits are usually given for the first run, bike and second run legs. Splits are also given for the time taken in each of the two transitions (T1 & T2).

What is a triathlon?

Triathlon is a sport comprising of three disciplines raced one after the other – it starts with a swim leg, then transitions into a cycle leg and finishes with a run.

Can I do a triathlon?

With some time and training, anyone can do a triathlon. Discovery Triathlon World Cup Cape Town is designed to be a mass participation event with distances catering to novice and experienced triathletes. To compete you need to be able to swim continuously for 15 min, be able to run 5km in 40 minutes and cycle 20km in 60 minutes. You can also enter the event in a team and choose one of the disciplines.

What are the Discovery Triathlon World Cup Cape Town distances?

Sprint Distance: 500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run.
Standard Distance: 750m swim, 40km bike, 10km run.
The bike leg for these races are draft legal.

Which distance should I choose?

For most, the biggest barrier to doing a triathlon is the swim, thus decide which distance you wish to enter based on the swim distances you are most comfortable with.

If you’re just starting out, consider doing the Sprint, with a 500m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. Even though the 20km cycle and 5km run might not sound that far – doing all three disciplines together will provide a suitable challenge for your first triathlon.

What is the age eligibility for each distance?

Age Group - Individuals and Teams Sprint Min Age 18 @ 31 Dec 2017
  Standard Min Age 18 @ 31 Dec 2017
Schools Challenge - Individuals and Teams Sprint Individuals Min Age 16 Max 18 @ 31 Dec 2017
  Sprint Team Min Age 14 Max 18 @ 31 Dec 2017

* Sprint Teams: May consist of adults and children, providing the children meet the minimum age of 14. Note: any scholar/s competing with adults will not compete in the Schools Challenge and therefore will also not be eligible for any prizes in the Schools Challenge category.

*Standard Teams: May consist of adults and children, providing the children meet the minimum age of 16. Note: any scholar/s competing with adults will not compete in the Schools Challenge and therefore will also not be eligible for any prizes in the Schools Challenge category.

Will there be cut-off times?

Yes, cut-off times will be applicable and these will be announced by 15 November 2016. Although these cut-off times are very achievable, should any entered and paid participant feel that they are unable to achieve the cut-off, and upon application, the participant will be given a full refund of their race entry as long as the organiser receives such application by the 30 November 2016. Thereafter, the normal cancellation policy will be applicable.

Do I need to have a strong background in one of the events?

You don’t need to have a sporting pedigree to tackle your first triathlon. Be active three to five times a week, include at least one session of each discipline per week and slowly increase your distances trained. Joining a triathlon/multisport club or getting a basic training programme from a coach will aid your preparation for the event.


Must I race as an individual or can I enter in a team?

Discovery Triathlon World Cup Cape Town caters for individual entries as well as team entries. Entering as part of a team is an excellent way to test the waters of triathlon.

Can a team entry consist of two participants and not just three?

Yes, a team can have two participants where one person can do two legs of the event.

Who can compete in the Schools Challenge?

All school going children between the ages of 14 – 18 years may participate in the schools challenge either as an individual or member of a team. Specific age restrictions related to the various distances are in place to ensure fairness and safety. Please adhere to these.


Do I need triathlon specific equipment?

While triathlon is a gear centric sport, it doesn’t have to be. You are welcome to cycle an old mountain bike and run in your favourite pair of shoes. It’s up to you how much you wish to invest. The ocean in Cape Town is cold and wetsuits are needed for the swim leg for safety reasons. Wetsuits and bicycles can be hired for this event.

Do I need to buy a wetsuit?

There is a very strong possibility that wetsuits will be compulsory for this event, in accordance with the ITU competition rules governing wetsuit use and water temperature. Besides keeping you warm during the swim, wetsuits also assist with buoyancy and help you swim faster.

Will time trial (TT) bikes and tri bars be allowed?

We will allow TT bikes as long as they have normal drop handlebars on and if they comply with the wheels and handlebar section below. You are welcome to clip on tri bars onto road bike or mountain bike.


  • Wheels must have at least 12 spokes.
  • Disc wheels are not allowed.


  • Handlebars must be plugged.
  • If clip-ons are being used, the clip-ons including the bridge must not exceed the foremost line of the brake levers.
  • Clip-ons must have a solid factory bridge or be touching each other.
  • Brake levers or gear levers must not be attached to the clip-ons.
  • Water bottles and water bottle holders may not be mounted onto the handlebars or clip-on.

I don't have a fancy bike; can one use a mountain bike for the race?

Yes, you are allowed to use a mountain bike.

May I use a Tandem or unconventional bike?

Yes, you are allowed to use a mountain bike.

Must I have my own bike?

Yes. If you do not have a bicycle and would like to rent one for the event, please click here.


Must the event disclaimer be signed by all?

Yes, every individual and every team member must complete the disclaimer and hand it in at registration. Entrants 18 and younger must have it signed by a parent or legal guardian. All team members must be at registration to collect race packs. Some form of photo identification will need to be produced at registration for entry verification.

Why do the cycle and run courses consist of laps?

Including laps into the route ensures that the race is contained, making public engagement more accessible with the opportunity to view and get to know the athletes. Furthermore, loyal supporters, family and friends of all athletes have the opportunity to see and interact with their athletes more often. The safety of our participants will always remain our primary consideration. Discovery Triathlon World Cup Cape Town has various events taking place over the entire weekend, and the length of the course takes into consideration access requirements for residence, bus routes and other City users.

What must I do when I check in my bike?

  • When you enter the Transition Area, wear your bike helmet fastened on your head.
  • Take your transition bag containing all the equipment you will need for your cycle.
  • Please note that no bags will be allowed to be left in the Transition Area aside from your allocated transition bag.
  • Please make sure your helmet, bike and transition bag are clearly marked with the race stickers provided.

May I start in another start group?

No, the various categories are pre-allocated per start group with a specific start time. Starting in another start group could lead to a disqualification.

I have entered as an individual along with my friends/family, why are we in different start groups?

The start group times are allocated according to gender and age groups, which means that if you and your friends or family are of various ages and genders you might not be able to start in the same start groups.

May I race with someone of the opposite gender?

You may run along with someone of the opposite gender, but in the cycling leg no athlete may draft an athlete of the opposite gender. Drafting an athlete of the opposite gender will result in a disqualification. Drafting is a technique where two or more cyclists cycle in a close group to reduce the effect of drag by using the front bicycles slipstream.

Why did the swim venue change this year?

From 2014 to 2016, the event was held late in April where Cape Town’s climatic conditions are substantially lower than the temperatures during the events new February date. The average daily highs are 27° in February vs 21° in April, and the harbour temperatures averaging 16° vs 13° respectively in February and April. With the higher temperatures in February, we are able to move the swim back to its original start venue at Quay 6.

Can the triathlon swim be rough?

The swim leg of the triathlon will be in Quay 6, V&A Waterfront. The water should be very calm, other than the activity of the swimmers around you and the possibility of a little wind chop.

The swim can be daunting as you are in close proximity with other athletes, therefore the race is divided into various start waves to reduce the amount of people in the water together. It is advised to practice open water swimming in your wetsuit and/ practice swimming in a squad to prepare you for the swim.

There can be congestion at the start of the swim and round the first buoy resulting in occasional contact. Choose a wider outside line to avoid the congestion.

Will there be start waves, and how will these be determined?

Yes, there will be start waves for both the Sprint and Standard distances. These waves will be determined according to various categories such as age groups and gender. Start waves will be communicated once entries have closed, prior to race registration.

Drafting, when will this be allowed, and when not?

Drafting will be allowed in the Sprint and Standard distance event, due to the nature of the cycle course and the number of the athletes on the road. Males cannot draft females and females cannot draft males.

Will the Age Groupers receive split timings for the separate legs of the race?

Yes, time splits will be provided for the swim, bike and run leg of the race? Timing mats will be placed throughout the course to ensure your race results.

Where will my finish time be displayed?

Provisional results will be available on our website post race and displayed within approximately 15 minutes after you have finished close to the exit of the Athlete Area.


Will there going to be a separate event for Paratriathletes?

We will not have a separate paratriathlon event this year. We will however, have a separate start wave in the Sprint distance for paratriathletes. This will be an open paratriathletes event; all paratriathletes regardless of category will be participating in the same event. No category prizes will be awarded. There is a cut off time of 20 min on the swim.

What disability category is allowed to take part in this event?

We are unable to accommodate athletes using wheelchairs and hand cycles on this course. All other paratriathletes are welcome to take part in the Sprint distance event. This will be an open paratriathletes event; all paratriathletes regardless of category will be participating in the same event. Provision will be made for your own personal handler. Please contact us at to discuss any of your concerns so that you are able you to take part in the best manner possible.


When do entries close?

Entries close at midnight 31 January 2017 or when the race capacity has been reached. Once entries close you may request to be placed on a waiting list and should there be cancellations in your requested event, you will be allocated an entry. 

Can my entry for this year’s event be deferred to next year’s event?

Deferrals to the 2018 event will not be permitted. However, participants may be allowed to transfer their entry to another athlete. Refer to transfers.

Is it possible for me to cancel my race entry? And what is the policy on refunds?

Athletes that are unable to participate, regardless of their reasons, can request cancellation of their entry and refund of their entry fee under the following terms:

  • Until midnight 22 December 2016 – 50% refund on entry fee
  • Until midnight 11 January 2017– 25% refund on entry fee
  • 11 January 2017 and after – 0% refund on entry fee

Please submit your cancellation and refund request to

Is it possible to transfer my entry to someone else?

Entries can be transferred to another person as long as the substitution request is submitted before midnight 22 January 2017. Thereafter no transfers are allowed. A fee of R 100.00 will be applicable. To transfer your entry to someone else, submit your request to

Is it possible to convert my entry either from a Sprint distance to a Standard distance, or Standard distance to a Sprint distance?

Participants can request to transfer their entry between event distances. Should you decide to upgrade from a shorter distance to a longer distance event, you will need to pay the difference in entry fees. In the event of changing from a longer distance to a shorter distance event, we will not be able to refund the difference in entry fee. Over and above, if you change event distance: 

  • By midnight of 22 January 2017 – no administration fee will be charged.
  • From 23 January 2017 and until registration closes on Friday 10 February – a R100 administration fee will be payable. Please note that by making changes after 22 January, you may forfeit your personalised race number.

Please submit your change of distance request to

Do I need to purchase a day license, if I am not a member of Triathlon South Africa (TSA)?

Yes, if you are not a Triathlon South Africa registered athlete with a valid 2017 license, you will need to purchase a day license to participate in the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town event. For your convenience you can purchase your TSA day license when you enter on our online registration portal.

Cost per TSA day license.

  • Sprint event - individuals and teams must pay R30
  • Standard distance participants – Individuals and teams must pay R100

*Only one temporary license for a team is needed, no need to purchase three.

As this is a TSA sanctioned event, all TSA rules and regulations are applicable.

I have not received my confirmation email after registering?

Please contact Race Office via email, and they will send you a confirmation email.

May I enter multiple events?

You are only allowed to participate in one event on the day.

Can I participate in the Discovery Duathlon Cape Town on the Sunday, competing in more than one race over the weekend?

Yes, if you are a senior athlete (20+) you may participate in one event in the duathlon and one event in the triathlon, as long as you are not competing as an individual in the standard distance events in both the triathlon and the duathlon. You may however compete as an individual in one of the standard events, and any other variables besides the individual standard in the other competition. This is an ITU ruling that does not allow participation in two standard individual events within a 36 hour window period. No junior athlete ages 12 – 19 may compete on two consecutive days, irrespective the distance.