A lone rider makes their way through the rolling hills of the Ironman 70.3 South Africa bike course. The event—held in Buffalo City, East London on Jan. 26—was the opening race of the 2020 long-course season. Little did we know at this point how little long-course racing there would be. Making her debut at the 70.3 distance, Olympian Flora Duffy won the women’s pro race, while Matt Trautman took victory in the men’s event.
Photo: Chris Hitchcock for Ironman
The Mooloolaba ITU World Cup on Australia’s Sunshine Coast went ahead as planned on March 14, shortly before the triathlon world succumbed to COVID-19 lockdown. Great Britain’s Vicky Holland won the women’s race while New Zealand’s Ryan Sissons took victory in the men’s event. The ITU completely suspended racing before putting on a few events in the summer and fall.
Photo: Delly Carr/Triathlon.org
No pool? Just add beer. The COVID-19 global pandemic forced German athlete Lasse Lührs to get creative.
Photo: Jörg Schüler/Getty Images
With races postponed or canceled, professional triathlete Sarah Piampiano uses the opportunity to do things differently and get out on her gravel bike. She’s pictured here riding up Barnabe Mountain in Lagunitas, California, over the summer. Piampiano later announced that she was expecting a baby. Read more about how pros are using the lost year of racing here.
Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
When the official news came that Tokyo would be postponed a year, paratriathlete Melissa Stockwell had a moment of doubt. “A fleeting moment of ‘Do I want to keep going?’” she said. “A year to some people is nothing, to others it feels like an eternity.” The 41-year-old has shifted her mindset to the idea that the opportunity presented a whole extra year her kids could see her chasing a big goal. Read more from our “Dreams Delayed” feature here.
Photo: Getty Images
DIY adventures: Triathlete’s Chris Foster and Ben Collins finish up their ad hoc triathlon on Parson’s Landing, Catalina Island. See more from their adventure (including advice on how to put on your own DIY triathlon) here.
Photo: Karli Foster
Racing returns in the Swiss Alps as Swimrun athletes enjoy the first event of the Ötillö Swimrun World Series since the COVID-19 pandemic. The stunning scenery of the Engadin Valley provided the perfect backdrop for the race, which saw more than 70 teams take part on July 26. Ötillö’s founder Michael Lemmel explained how they managed to put the event on in the pandemic here.
Photo: Akuna Life/Otillo
After a hiatus of 162 days, professional triathlon made a somewhat triumphant return with the debut of Super League’s Arena Games—a unique format that blended real and virtual racing to create something that looked extremely painful and made for a decent TV package. Ten men and 10 women competed in a “triple mix” format at a really nice 50-meter pool in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Read more about the event here.
Photo: Super League Triathlon
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the mixed relay race at the ITU World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 6, involved no-touch hand-offs—seen here. The French team won, crossing the line nine seconds ahead of the Americans, with the Brits rounding out the podium.
Photo: Petko Beier/Triathlon.org
In it together: Racing during COVID-19 means you need even more help from your friends.
Photo: Janos Schmidt/Triathlon.org
Athletes line up six feet apart before Ironman 70.3 Cozumel back in September. It was one of a handful of Ironman or 70.3 events that took place in 2020.
Photo: Eduardo Badillo/Getty Images
Ironman 70.3 Arizona on Oct. 18 was the first Ironman event to take place in the United States in 2020. Read about some of the protocols Ironman put in place at this event here. Though the 70.3 was able to go forward, the full Ironman Arizona was ultimately canceled due to increasing community COVID-19 numbers in the area.
Photo: Chris Coduto/Getty Images
Triathlete Jonas Deichmann is hoping to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe via swimming, cycling, and running. After leaving Germany in September, he rode into Croatia, where he hit snow before swimming south towards Montenegro. It’s expected to take him 12-14 months—and will be the equivalent of 120 Ironmans. Read more about his story here.
Photo: Markus Weinberg
With nearly all other U.S.-based swimrun events canceled in 2020, including three of four offerings from Odyssey SwimRun, athletes and organizers finally got the day they dreamed about. On Sunday, Nov. 8, 250 athletes attended the first running of Odyssey SwimRun Austin at Pace Bend Park. See more images from the event here.
Photo: Aaron Palaian
Canadian Paula Findlay takes the win—and a $100,000 paycheck—at the PTO Championships in Daytona, Florida, on Dec. 6 in a race she called her “perfect day.” Overall, the event was one of the best shows in the history of the tri. Read more analysis of the event here.
Photo: Tommy Zaferes/PTO