Tag Archives: triathlon referee

2017 British Triathlon Rules update

Yesterday saw the release of the new British Triathlon rulebook, to take effect immediately. Technical Officials had been told there would be a rules update in the New Year and that it would be small enough not to require the printing of a new rule book, but we hadn’t seen the rules before yesterday either. British Triathlon have also released a summary sheet, detailing the changes for those who don’t want/need to plough through the whole thing again.

The changes are fairly minor and probably don’t pose any great challenges to most competitors. I am interested to see the clarifcations on being able to leave lights switched on and mounted to the bike in transition and on being able to hang bike clothing from the bike in transition. In line with other officials, I have previously asked for these to be removed and deemed them as “marking”. I still think they act as a marker in transition, but I’m pleased to have guidance in black and white, even if I disagree.

Possibly the most significant change is over the duration of time penalties. These are now different for drafting and other penalties and dependent on the race distance.


  • Middle- or long-distance (eg Ironman or half-ironman) – 5 minutes
  • Standard (Olympic) – 2 minutes
  • Sprint or shorter – 1 minute

Other time penalties

  • Middle- or long-distance (eg Ironman or half-ironman) – 1 minute
  • Standard (Olympic) – 15 seconds
  • Sprint or shorter – 10 seconds

This is interesting as the penalty for undoing your helmet in transition is now only 10 seconds in sprint, down from 1 minute. That’s quite a big difference, especially when you consider how long it takes to respond to the verbal warning and refastening. Competitors would almost be better to not receive a verbal warning and just take the 10 second time penalty.

The hard-to-implement rules on front zippers on trisuits being done up to the top have also been changed slightly, mostly for middle- and long-distance events. These are still quite hard to implement without a large officiating team, but definitely worth paying attention to at larger events such as qualifiers and National Championships.

The updates also include changes to kids and (elite) Paratriathlon events, such as time penalties. In the case of paratriathlon, these are quite significant including changes to classification, so would be well worth a read if they apply to you.

More information on the rule changes, together with the new rulebook and summary of changes can be found on the British Triathlon news article on the topic.

A day in the life of a Triathlon Technical Official

Triathlon Scotland just posted this great little video about what the Technical Official team (including me!) got up to at the Strathclyde Park Multisport festival this weekend.

I had the privilege to be a part of the technical official team for this weekend, as part of my progression along the officiating pathway. Currently I’m restricted to duathlons and pool swims, but come mid-June, I’ll qualify for the great wide world of open water!

The video is a very truthful depiction of our role at the event; pre-race checks, keeping the race fair and safe during the event and checking the results after the event. The only thing I’d suggest is missing is showing just how much fun it can be and how rewarding it is to be part of people’s races, especially at these larger events where we are working in a small team. It is certainly a great way to get to know the local triathlon community; our work interacts with Triathlon Scotland staff, event organisers, marshals, other officials and competitors. There is even the opportunity to go all the way to the top of the officiating ladder, at major games such as the Olympics!

Triathlon Scotland is always looking for more people to join the technical official team, so check out their website. They’ve just announced a course for the 23rd July, so there is even time to qualify this season!

10 triathlon rules to know

My battered copy of the triathlon rules, along with my Triathlon Scotland whistle and clipboard
My battered copy of the triathlon rules, along with my Triathlon Scotland whistle and clipboard

As I kicked off my season of officiating earlier last month, I was again met with surprise when pulling up some athletes for rule infringements that they didn’t know about. (Or claimed not to know about…) So I thought I’d put out a list of the top 10 triathlon rules that I see broken at events.

Continue reading 10 triathlon rules to know

Becoming a triathlon technical official

The day after my own race at the London Triathlon at the weekend, I returned to complete my fourth and final shadowing of a qualified official, and became a triathlon technical official in my own right. I am now a “Local Technical Official“, the most junior of officials, and permitted “to be the chief official at pool based triathlon and aquathlon events along with duathlons, including children’s and paratriathlon events … also qualified to be an assistant official at open water events.” Woohoo!

Continue reading Becoming a triathlon technical official