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 swimming to cycling, cycling to running and/or running to cycling 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, in a triathlon. 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 cyclists 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 18 on 31 Dec 2019
  Standard 18 on 31 Dec 2019
Schools Challenge - Individuals and Teams Sprint Individuals 16 – 18 on 31 Dec 2019

* 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.

Sprint 500m
17 mins
50 mins
43 mins
1 hr 50 mins
Standard 750m
23 mins
1 hr 40 mins
1 hr 02 mins
3 hrs 05 mins
Super Sprint 2,5km
20 mins
40 mins
20 mins
1 hr 20 mins
Sprint 5km
35 mins
50 mins
35 mins
2 hrs
Sprint 10km
1 hr 10 mins
1 hr 40 mins
40 mins
3 hrs 30 mins

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 program from a coach will aid your preparation for the event. See our training partners link on our website for assistance and tips.


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?

We have placed age restrictions related to the various distances to ensure fairness and safety. Please see the details below for the restrictions in place:


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.

Why do I need 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.

Can I use a surfing wetsuit?

While it is not against the rules to use a surfing wetsuit, they are typically more restrictive since the suit fabric is often thicker. Surfing wetsuits may make swimming tougher and uncomfortable. Regardless of your wetsuit choice, it is important to ensure that you have trained in the wetsuit you want to use for the race before event day.

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?

The ITU rules state that the following bicycles may not be used in their events:

  • Tandem bikes in the individual or team events. This is because each discipline must be completed by one person.
  • Unconventional bicycles.

Must I have my own bike?

Yes. If you do not have one, you can rent a bicycle for the event.


Must everyone sign the event disclaimer?

Yes, every individual and every team member must complete the disclaimer and hand it in at registration. Entrants younger than 18 must have it signed by a parent or legal guardian. All team members must also be at registration to collect race packs. Positive identification, such as an ID or driving licence) must be shown at registration for entry verification.

Why do the cycle and run courses have laps?

Including laps into the route ensures that the race is contained, making it possible for the public to engage, view and support the athletes. Loyal supporters, family and friends of all athletes will also have the opportunity to see the athletes they support more frequently. The safety of our participants will always remain our primary consideration. Discovery Triathlon World Cup Cape Town has various events taking place throughout the day and the course route also considers access requirements for residents, bus routes and other road 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.

Is the triathlon swim difficult?

The swimming event of the triathlon will be at Quay 6, V&A Waterfront. The water should be very calm, other than the activity of the swimmers around you and the possibility of wind.

The swim can be daunting because you will be in close proximity of other athletes. As a result, the swimming event will be divided into various starting points to reduce the number of people in the water at any one time. If you have no experience in triathlon swimming, we strongly advise that you join a swim squad and practice swimming in your wetsuit to make sure that you are comfortable and less nervous on race day.

There can be congestion at the start of the swim and around the first buoy, resulting in occasional body contact with fellow swimmers. If you are nervous or a slow swimmer, it may be best to choose a wider outer 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 I be able to find my finish time?

You will receive an SMS with your finish time. Provisional results will also be on our website after the race. A link to the final results will be posted once results have been verified.


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 2019, or when the race capacity is reached. Once entries close, you can request to be placed on a waiting list and, if there are cancellations in your chosen event, you will be allocated an entry.

Can my entry for this year’s event be postponed to be used at next year’s event?

We will not allow entries to be postponed to be used for the 2020 event. You may, however, transfer your entry to another athlete. Refer to the Transferring your entry section.

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 and refund of their entry. They can get:

  • A 50% refund on their entry fee if the request is received before midnight 14 December 2018.
  • A 25% refund on their entry fee if the request is received before midnight 14 January 2019.

No refund will be provided if the cancellation request is received on or after 15 January 2019.

  • Athletes who use the early bird entry reservation offer (month of October 2018) would be able to cancel their reservation and request a refund of their R100 deposit if the cancellation is done before 23:59 on 31 October 2018.
  • Athletes who don’t pay the balance of their entry fee by 23:59 on 30 November 2018 will forfeit their R100 deposit as well as their entry reservation.

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 23:59 on 20 January 2019. A fee of R 100 will apply.

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 to another event distance.

If you choose 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.

If you change your race distance:

  • By 23:59, 20 January 2019: You will not be charged an administration fee./li>
  • After 21 January 2019 but not later than 23:59, 31 January 2019: A R100 administration fee will apply to your request.

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 registered with Triathlon South Africa with a valid 2019 licence, you will need to purchase a day licence to participate in the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town event. You would be able to purchase your TSA day licence when you enter on our online registration portal.

Cost per TSA day license.

  • Sprint event – R35 for each licence purchased. This is valid for both individuals and teams.
  • Standard distance – R120 for each licence purchased. This is valid for both individuals and teams.

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

Because this event is sanctioned by Triathlon South Africa, all Triathlon South Africa rules and regulations are applicable.

I have not received my confirmation email after registering?

Please contact the Race Office by emailing to request a confirmation email.

Can I enter more than one event?

Based on the cut-off times, it is possible to enter a Standard triathlon or duathlon as well as the duathlon Super Sprint events.

Please contact Race Office at to assist you with entering more than one event.