Triathlon BC Statement of Interpretation on International Triathlon Union (ITU) 36 Hour Rule

Under the International Triathlon Union  (ITU), regulation 2.5 (i.) prohibits athletes from competing in two events that are less than 36 hours apart.  Specifically, rule 2.5 i.) states that: “Athletes may not compete within 36 hours in more than one triathlon or multisport event, when one event is of standard distance or longer.” An exception is made for aquathlon.

The Triathlon BC Technical Committee sought clarification on this rule during the preparation of the 2017 Triathlon BC rules.  The information and advice received came from Dr. Sergio Migliorini M.D, Sports Medicine Specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and ITU Medical Committee Chair. Dr. Migliorini stated in part:

“Triathletes do “extreme amounts of exercise”.  Some empirical as well epidemiological data suggest that such excess may be associated with DNA modulation, increase of cardiovascular or pulmonary events and/or impaired immune status; immune suppression can occur within the post-race recovery and also rhabdomyolysis and sometimes acute renal failure.

Considering the literature data about the relationship between the saturated competition programme and the potential health consequences some authors observed a significant relationship between the numbers of races per season/participation in competition/time spent competing and the overuse injury incidence.

Also, the experience in the field suggests to reduce the number of races each year, particularly for the Youth and the Age Group athletes, and to have a correct amount of recovery between each race.”

In other words, athletes, particularly those inclined to participate in multiple events over a weekend, are more susceptible to injury, disease and incidents where sudden death occurs.  In order to mitigate the risks associated with the 36 hour rule, Triathlon BC has opted to take the following precautions:

  1. Request that Race Directors with two or more events of standard distance or longer, within a 36 hour period, work with their registration software providers to identify and flag participants signing up for two or more races.
  2. Require the participants identified to have a Medical Doctor complete the 36 Hour Medical Permission and Waiver Form and forward it to Triathlon BC prior to the first race they have scheduled in the 36 hour period.
  3. Athletes not providing the form, or who provide the form late, or who compete in two (or more) events within a 36 hour period will be disqualified from all competitions over this period.
  4. Athletes that are discovered at the events competing without the medical permission and waiver will be stopped, disqualified and removed from the event, and may be subject to an onsite medical examination.  This is a field-of-play decision by the event’s Official, and is not subject to appeal.
  5. Athletes who are discovered to have raced a second or subsequent time without the medical permission and waiver being completed may be subject to review and possible suspension from Triathlon BC.

Athletes wishing to compete in two events within a 36 hour period can download the 36 Hour Medical Permission & Waiver form HERE.  Once the waiver has been completed by a Doctor, it can be submitted to Triathlon BC.