British Triathlon Age Groups: Explained

british triathlon age groups image

Becoming part of the British Triathlon Age Group Team is a great challenge for passionate runners or cyclists looking to represent their country, but without the pressure of becoming professional athletes.

In this article we will cover everything you need to know if you’re interested in joining the team, from the Triathlon Age Groups explained in thorough detail, to how to qualify for Age Group Triathlon. 

Whether you’ve got your heart set on competing, or you’re simply unsure of what an Age Group Triathlon is, keep reading to find out more!

We will cover:

Ever thought about turning your passion for fitness into a lucrative career? If so, check out the personal training courses available with OriGym and take your first steps into the industry! Or, you can download our free prospectus to browse the range of fitness courses we offer. 

What is British Age Group Triathlon?

british triathlon age group qualifying times

Triathlon is a multisport event consisting of three components: swimming, cycling and running. Triathletes compete against each other to complete all three aspects of the race in the fastest time. Find out more about what exactly triathlon is and the history of triathlon here!

British Age Group Triathlon is simply the non-elite form of the British Triathlon team. Being part of the UK Triathlon Age Group team allows athletes to compete at international level in Triathlon, Duathlon, Cross Triathlon, Winter Triathlon, Aquathlon and Aquabike.

If you like the variety and endurance of triathlon, why not challenge yourself further with our list of the best obstacle course races in the UK!

Whether taking part in European or World Championships, athletes compete in predetermined categories which are split into 5-year age brackets, as well as being divided by gender. We’ll explain the Triathlon age categories in more detail later on in this article. 

If you qualify for the British Triathlon Federation (BTF) Age Group team, you will represent Britain in either an International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championship, or a European Triathlon Union (ETU) European Championship. This means that you will compete against other athletes within your age category from different countries throughout Europe or the world!

A common misconception is that you have to be a certain age or type of athlete to compete in British Age Group Triathlon- but this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Some people begin training as a child, whereas some begin at 60 or older. Some compete with the hope of winning a World Championship title, whereas others simply compete for the fun experience!

If you don’t fancy the idea of competing at a specific place and time, you might be interested in a virtual race! Our list of the best virtual running challenges, races and events is a great place to start! 

How to qualify for British Age Group Triathlon

how to qualify for age group triathlon

Triathlon age group qualification can seem complex if it's your first time registering for an event. 

However, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that simplifies the process, so keep reading if you’d like to find out everything there is to know about how to qualify for the Triathlon Age Group nationals!

Step 1: Become a Member of Your Home Nation

To compete in a British Triathlon Age Group event, you must first register for a Home Nation license from Triathlon England, Scotland, or Welsh Triathlon, depending on where you are from. You can do this via the British Triathlon website.

There are a few different membership levels to choose from, but the main ones that you need to compete are Core or Ultimate membership.

Core membership provides you with a race license, which will allow you to compete for the GB Triathlon Age Group team. It also provides you with public liability insurance and personal accident cover, which covers training and racing in Britain and abroad.

Ultimate membership provides you with all of the above, but offers an enhanced level of personal accident cover.

Insurance is an important part of any sport or fitness activity. If you’re a personal trainer or thinking of becoming one, check out OriGym’s ultimate guide to the insurance that personal trainers need in the UK to make sure you’re properly covered!

Step 2: Choose a Championship

The next step is to choose the championship race that you’d like to qualify for, which you can find through the British Triathlon website. Here you will find European and World Championships, including every discipline from triathlons, to aquathlons of varying distances.

The championship registration page will provide all of the information you need to know about qualification for your chosen race.

Step 3: Register for Triathlon Age Group Qualification

It is important to pay close attention to qualification criteria, as this will vary for different events. 

For sprint and standard duathlon and triathlon championships, you must enter a qualifying race for your chosen championship. These qualifying races will allocate 4 places per age group to the championship.

It is also important to note that if you hope to compete in a British triathlon age group event, you must register to qualify before 5pm on the Friday before the qualifying race.

For middle distance, long distance, cross, winter, aquathlon and aquabike championships, you will qualify by submitting a race result which meets the criteria on the specific event webpage. 

Step 4: Register to Compete

As well as registering for qualification, you must register your intent to compete as part of the Triathlon Age Group qualification process.

Using your Home Nation membership number and password, you should register under the championship page that you hope to qualify for and pay the £10 registration fee. 

Step 5: Selection

If you have been successful in qualifying for your chosen championship, you will receive an email from a team manager within 2 weeks of registration cut off dates to confirm your place. 

British Age Group Triathlon Requirements

british triathlon tristar age groups

In order to qualify for your chosen UK Triathlon Age Group championship, you must meet the minimum requirements for competing. However, it’s important to note that requirements for each championship will be different, depending on elements such as the competition, the course, the weather, and the level of interest in the race. 

There are no specific British Triathlon Age Group qualifying times, as qualification is based upon the completion time of the winner in your age group.

For instance, in sprint and standard distance events, to qualify you must finish within 120% of the winner in your age group.

To work out your time in terms of percentage of the Age Group winner’s time, you should convert both times into seconds, then divide your time in seconds by the Age Group winner’s time in seconds. Finally, multiply this figure by 100.

Other events often require you to submit extra evidence, so be sure to check the Triathlon Age Group qualification criteria carefully before registering. 

How many places are available in the British Triathlon Age Groups?

triathlon age groups categories

There are typically 20 places available from each of the Triathlon age categories and gender groups. There are 12 automatic qualification places, with the first 4 eligible athletes in each age group at each qualification race being awarded a place.

Rather than being awarded based on British Triathlon Age Group qualifying times, the remaining 8 places are allocated via discretionary and roll down places.

To be awarded a discretionary place, you have to prove that exceptional circumstances prevented you from competing in a qualifying race. You must submit an application form within one week of the final registration deadline for your chosen championship.

Roll down places will be offered to those who have completed a qualification race in a time within 115% of the winner of their age group’s time for World Championship qualification, or 120% for European Championship qualification. 

How much does an Age Group Triathlon cost?

age groups for triathlon

If you’re hoping to compete in the British Triathlon Age Group team, it’s important to know that Age Group Triathlon is a self-funded sport. 

Although athletes cover the costs themselves, many choose to seek sponsorship from local organisations. 

Here are the main costs that you should expect to incur when competing in a GB Age Group Triathlon.


This is arguably the most important cost that you will incur as a British Triathlon Age Group athlete, as you must ensure that your Home Nation membership is up to date in order to compete. 

Membership packages vary from £36 to £85, depending on which level you choose.

Entry Fee

Entry fees for British Age Group Triathlon races vary, but generally range from £60-£500 depending on the event.

Once your qualification has been confirmed you will receive an email regarding payment of these entry fees.

International Race Fee

If you are competing in an international Age Group Triathlon championship, you will have to pay an international race fee of £20.

This covers the expenses of Team Managers who travel to events to support UK Triathlon Age Group teams in international competitions. 

Age Group Kit

In order to compete, you must wear an official British Triathlon Age Group tri-suit, which costs £120 to £170 depending on the style and printing option that you choose. 

There are other optional official items of clothing and accessories available to purchase, including t-shirts, long sleeved training tops, vests, shorts, hats and belts, which you can find here.

If you’re not competing in the British Triathlon Age Group, check out OriGym’s list of the best men’s triathlon suits.

Flights and Accommodation 

Although travel has to be booked independently, some travel companies, such as Nirvana Europe, do offer special travel packages for GB Triathlon Age Group athletes competing abroad. 

It is recommended to book one of these packages, as they provide everything you need for a seamless Triathlon experience, from arranging a room at the official GB Age Group Triathlon hotel to providing an early breakfast on the morning of your race.

As well as a good breakfast, foods high in energy are essential when training and competing in triathlons. Check out this list of the best energy bars by OriGym for some on-the-go snack inspiration!


Insurance is crucial for British Triathlon Age Group athletes travelling abroad and can vary in cost depending on the provider you choose.

As the official insurance provider, Yellow Jersey offers a 15 to 20% discount for BTF Age Group athletes once they have qualified for the team. 

Yellow Jersey’s package offers public liability insurance, as well as a personal accident benefit. However, it doesn’t include travel insurance or cover for bicycles and other equipment, so you would need to source this elsewhere.

Want to know more about triathlon? Here are some articles we think you’ll love!

British Triathlon Age Groups Explained

how to qualify for british triathlon age group nationals

When competing in Age Group Triathlon, there are a number of Triathlon age categories which athletes are split into. This means that you will compete against other athletes who are a similar age, as well as the same gender.

It’s important to note that international Age-Group competition starts at age 16 for sprint distances and 18 for standard distance, although there are opportunities for non-competitive triathlon junior age groups which we will explore later on. 

British Triathlon Age Group Categories:

  • Youths: 15-16
  • Juniors: 17-18
  • Juniors: 19
  • Seniors 1: 20-24
  • Seniors 2: 25-29
  • Seniors 3: 30-34
  • Seniors 4: 35-39
  • Veterans 1: 40-44
  • Veterans 2: 45-49
  • Veterans 3: 50-54
  • Veterans 4: 55-59
  • Veterans 5: 60-64
  • Veterans 6: 65-69
  • Veterans 7: 70-74
  • Veterans 8: 75-79
  • Veterans 9: 80+

These are the most common age groups for triathlon, but they may be changed slightly for some races. For instance, smaller or local races may merge groups such as 30-34 and 35-39 into a bigger 30-39 group. 

Also, for International Age Group Triathlon championships, 16 to 19 year olds are often grouped into one under 20 category. 

England Triathlon Junior Age Groups

british triathlon age groups table 2


Although athletes cannot compete until they are at least 16, there are specific programmes and events designed for children to compete in if they hope to join Junior Triathlon Age Groups.

For instance, the British Tristar Triathlon Age Groups start from age 8, and are separated into the age categories 9-10 years, 11-12 years, and 13-14 years.

There are also many different events for Tristar British Triathlon Age Groups across the country. 

For instance, the Regional Junior Series is a series of races for children aged 8 to 17, which are organised by the 10 Triathlon England regions to ensure that there are events local and accessible to all competitors.

These events for Triathlon junior age groups encourage children to find a passion for Triathlon and help create future BTF age group stars!

Other Triathlon Groups

gb triathlon age group

Outside of the British Triathlon Age Groups categories, there are other groups which athletes can opt into if they choose to.

Elite Males and Elite Females

The Elite category is for those who expect to finish in the top 2 to 3% of all finishers in the race that they choose. This group is especially great for those looking to push themselves into the professional leagues. 

If you consider yourself in this category, we bet that you’d have the fitness level for long distance running. If you think it could be for you, check out Origym’s top tips for long distance running

Newbie Males and Newbie Females

Although this is not the case for all British Triathlon Age Group events, some races offer a category for those who are running their first Triathlon. This offers competitors the chance to get used to racing competitively, without the pressure of racing against more experienced athletes. 

If you’re new to fitness, a great way to build your stamina is through running. To help keep track of your fitness journey, check out our list of the best running apps for beginners!


Although this category is for men with a weight exceeding 200lbs, those exceeding this weight can still choose to race in Triathlon age categories instead. 

The benefit of competing in the Clydesdales category is that it allows you to compete against those of a similar weight, something which could put you at a disadvantage if you choose to compete in your age group.


Like the Clydesdales, the Athena category is for women exceeding 145lbs. If you think you fit into this category, why not get some training inspiration from these amazing female bodybuilders

British Triathlon Age Groups for Race Series

uk triathlon age groups

When competing in a single GB Triathlon Age Group race, you will typically be asked to sign up for the category that matches your age on race day. 

For instance, if you are currently 24, but will turn 25 by the day of the race, it’s important that you sign up as a 25-year-old. This is to ensure that you race in the correct category on the day, against people of your own age. 

Similarly, if you are signing up to compete in a race series, you should sign up as the age that you will be at the end of the series. This ensures that your results are compared against other competitors in the correct age groups for the Triathlon championship that you have entered.


Can You Register for More than One British Triathlon Age Group Race?

If you’re a real GB Age Group Triathlon enthusiast, the good news is that you can qualify for multiple races at a championship event. However, sports governing body World Triathlon states that these races must be at least 24 hours apart.

Also, you can enter more than one qualification race, but you only need to register once for that championship. On the other hand, if your race is a qualifier for two or more championships, you must still register for all championships that you intend to qualify for.

If you want to take your training to the next level, why not try an ironman triathlon? Check out our handy guide to the different kinds of ironman and triathlon distances

What Should I Wear for UK Triathlon Age Groups Races?

No matter which of the British Triathlon Age Group categories you’re competing in, it’s important to wear the right gear and have the right equipment. 

Not only will this ensure that you are able to race comfortably on the day, but if you fail to wear the correct clothing, you may be disqualified! It’s therefore important to always check the official uniform rules for the championship that you will be competing in.

Having the right gear is important for any sport or fitness activity, even weightlifting. Check out OriGym’s guide to the best weightlifting shoes if you want to take your lifting game to the next level!

Here are our general recommendations for some essential pieces of clothing and equipment if you’re hoping to compete in any GB age group triathlon:

  • Triathlon Suit

This is an essential piece of equipment that you will wear throughout the whole race, so there is no need to invest in separate gear for each stage of the race.

A good tri-suit should be made of a moisture-wicking material and should contain a small pad in the shorts for cycling. 

If you are competing in a British Age Group Triathlon event, you should purchase a Triathlon suit from the official British Triathlon online shop. In order to access this store, you need to be a member of your Home Nation, where you will be provided with an access code to purchase merchandise.

If you still practice triathlon but aren’t in the British Triathlon Age Group, you can purchase your triathlon suit from elsewhere. If you don’t know where to start, check out our ultimate list of the best women’s triathlon suits

  • Wetsuit

Wearing a wetsuit is often mandatory, and GB triathlon age group rules mean that you are required to wear one if swimming in open water that is under 14°C. 

It’s also important to note that when mandatory, your wetsuit must cover at least the torso.

british triathlon age groups table 1

When training for the swimming section of triathlon, have you ever thought about using a tracker to monitor your progress? Check out our guide to the best swimming trackers to see how they can enhance your swim training!

  • Goggles

Goggles are essential for visibility, as well as for protecting the eyes from being damaged when in the water.

It’s important to strike the balance between loose and tight-fitting goggles, as you don’t want them to fall off or be uncomfortable whilst you swim. 

  • Helmet

As a key piece of protective equipment, a helmet is required in every British Age Group Triathlon and you will be disqualified if you fail to wear one! 

Therefore, be sure to choose a helmet that fits you well and feels comfortable. Like the goggles, a good helmet should be tight enough to stay on your head, but not so tight that it feels uncomfortable.

  • Laces

A great tip for smooth transitional stages is to wear elastic laces on your shoes. This means that you don’t waste precious time tying them when you finish swimming!

  • Socks

Not all racers choose to wear socks, as putting them on can waste seconds during the transitional stages. However, they are essential for preventing blisters if you are prone to getting them. 

If you choose to wear socks, ensure that they are made of a breathable and moisture-wicking material.

Wearing the right socks can make a world of difference in any kind of sport, especially something like running. OriGym’s list of the best running socks is a great place to start!

Before You Go!

If you were wondering how to qualify for Age Group Triathlon, or were simply looking for the different Triathlon age groups explained, we hope that our guide has been useful.

Remember to pay close attention to qualification criteria, sign up for the correct age category and most importantly, be proud that you are representing your country!

If you want to become a professional in the fitness industry, why not check out the personal training courses available with OriGym? You can also take a look at the full range of courses on offer by downloading our free prospectus here

Written by Alice Williams

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Alice is a content writer at OriGym. With a first-class degree in French and Linguistics, she loves all things language, fitness and culture. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

When she’s not writing, you can usually find Alice practicing yoga and she hopes to one day become a yoga instructor herself. She also loves running, tennis and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! It was this passion for health and fitness, combined with her love for writing, that brought Alice to OriGym.

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