Triathlon BC is committed to supporting the values universally acknowledged as the essence of sportsmanship; specifically, safety, honesty, fair play, cooperation, competitive spirit, respect for rules, and respect for all others involved in the sport, without prejudice to race, colour, creed, gender, or physical ability.  

WHO: Paratriathlon events are for athletes with physical and visual impairments.  To maintain a fair and competitive event, athletes compete in 6 Categories.

WHAT: Sprint Distance Triathlon - 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run

WHERE: International, National or Local events. Most race directors will try to accommodate paratriathletes when requested (in advance!).

WHY: Paratriathlon is unique in that if fully integrates athletes with physical and sensory impairments along side their able bodied counterparts at the same event.

WHEN: Check the local race calendar, then contact the Race Director!

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFICATIONS:  Currently, to qualify to compete at the ITU World Paratriathlon Championships, athletes apply to Triathlon Canada. As a general guide, female competitors should be finishing sprint events in under two hours, while male competitors should finish in under 100 minutes.

CLASSIFICATION: A paratriathlete must be classified by an ITU International Classification Panel prior to ITU competition. Classification ensures the competition is fair and equitable. 

    Download the Race Directors Guide to ParaTriathlon HERE.

    View the full Provincial Race Calendar HERE.

    Paratriathlon Rules & Categories

    Triathlon BC uses the same rules and categories as Triathlon Canada and the ITU.  The specific rules that pertain to Athletes with a Disability are included below.


    For Paratriathlon participants in any competition sanctioned by or conducted under the auspices of the Triathlon Canada (TC), the rules of that organization will apply with only the specific modifications:


    * NEW * Please note part d) below (minimum disability rule).
    1. Paratriathletes, as defined under ITU rules will be governed by all International Triathlon Union (ITU) competition rules with the following specific modifications.
    2. Prior to attending the ITU World Championships all Paratriathletes are required to provide a doctor’s letter to their National Federation, outlining their degree of disability (Classification).
    3. Athletes are required to be classified by an ITU designated classification officer to ensure athletes are assigned to the proper category.

    Competition Categories

    Competition Categories shall be established based on physical disabilities. Medical evidence shall be required as to disability and classification at National and International Events. The six categories as of September 9, 2015 are as follows:

    • PT1 - Wheelchair users. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to:  muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis that prevent the ability to safely ride a conventional bike and run. Through classification assessment, athletes must have a score of up to 640,0 points. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment.
    • PT2 - Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score of up to 454,9 points. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. 
    • PT3 - Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score from 455,0 to 494,9 points. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. 
    • PT4 - Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score from 495,0 to 557,0 points included. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.. 
    • PT5 - Total or Partial visual Impairment (IBSA/IPC defined sub-classes B1, B2, and B3): Includes athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception but unable to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction (B1) and partially sighted athletes with a visual acuity of less than 6/60 vision or visual field less than 20 degrees with best corrective vision (B2-B3). A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.

    HANDLERS - Handlers are individuals who can help paratriathletes in transition (without propelling them forward). A handler might help lift an athlete into a handcycle or pass an athlete their equipment. Handlers are typically selected by the athlete, and are often family or friends. Paratriathletes in Tri 2 to Tri 5 are allowed one handler, while athletes in Tri 1 are allowed two handlers. The handler for T6 athletes is their sighted guide. Events should provide swim exit handlers who will aid athletes in exiting the water.  It is important to practice transitions with handlers prior to competition.

    GUIDES - Paratriathletes with visual impairments (PT5) have guides to aid them on the swim, bike and run. On the swim, an athlete and their guide are tethered together.  On the bike portion, athlete and guide ride a tandem, and on the run, the athlete and guide are tethered, allowing the athlete to set the pace.

    Transition Area Conduct

    1. Assistance to paratriathletes in and out of the water; to and in transition shall be permitted.
    2. Assist dogs will not be allowed at any time.
    3. Securing qualified aides (handlers) shall be the responsibility of the triathlete and all such handlers shall be identified to the referee well prior to the event.
    4. It is intended that each triathlete have adequate assistance with appropriate credentials,
      1. One (1) handler for upper extremity amputees and the blind
      2. Blind athletes must be guided by a guide of the same sex throughout the entire course (i.e. tandem on bike)
      3.  Two (2) handlers for lower extremity amputees
      4. Two (2) to Three (3) for paraplegics, quadriplegics, polio, to ensure safety and fair competition.
    5. All handlers shall be subject to rules of competition and further instructions deemed appropriate by the referee.
    6. Any infraction perpetrated by a handler that enhances the performance of one triathlete over another may in the discretion of the referee or protest committee be grounds for a time penalty or disqualification imposed on the triathlete whose performance was enhanced.

    Swimming Conduct / Equipment

    a)     Artificial propulsive devices, including but not limited to fins, paddles, or floating devices of any kind will not be allowed resulting in disqualification.

    b)     Wetsuits will be allowed, at all temperatures. It will be left up to the athlete to determine if it is too warm to wear a wetsuit.

    Cycling Conduct / Equipment


    1. All bicycles, tricycles, hand cycles shall be propelled by human force. Arms or legs shall be used to propel the cycle but not both. Prostheses are permissible. Any violation shall result in disqualification.
    2. Bicycle shall include bicycle, tricycle, hand cycle and or racing wheelchair.
    3. Bicycle specifications as to length, height, width, number of wheels, “front to center” distance with respect to hand cycles and tricycles shall conform to international paralympic standards. In the interim such vehicles shall conform to those in general use and shall be subject to inspection by the referee before the event to ensure safety and fair competition.
    4. There will be no protective shield, faring or other device that has the effect of reducing resistance used. Aerodynamic carriers must not be attached to handlebars of tricycle or hand cycle.
    5. There must be at least one working brake (generally on the drive wheel) capable of safely stopping/ slowing the vehicle.
    6. Paratriathletes who use a bicycle shall be governed by the aforementioned specifications regarding length, height, width, number of wheels, and front to center distance.

    Running Conduct / Equipment

    1. Paratriathletes may use prosthesis, canes or crutches to ambulate the course.
    2. The only acceptable footwear on the run portion is a running shoe unless a prosthetic limb like a flexfoot is necessary.
    3. Paratriathletes who perform this leg in a wheelchair shall be governed by the rules of Triathlon Canada, and shall include wheelchair specifications as well as racing conduct.
    4. Wheelchair Specifications: The wheelchair shall have at least two large wheels and one small wheel. The wheelchair design must not incorporate any device to enhance its aerodynamic capacity. (Note: “Wheelchair design does not include wheels”; all wheels may be spoke solid or composite construction. Wheel covers are permitted). The maximum diameter of the large wheel including the inflated tire shall not exceed 70 cm. and maximum diameter of the small wheel including the inflated tire shall not exceed 50 cm. Only one plain, round, standard type hand rim is allowed for each large wheel. No mechanical gears or levers shall be allowed that may be used to propel the chair. There is no limit on the length of the racing wheelchair. Only hand operated mechanical steering devices will be allowed. Athletes must ensure that no part of their lower limbs can fall to the ground during a race. Competitors may receive technical advice from cyclo computer type devices installed on their own wheelchairs.
    5. In no instance may an paratriathlete for this leg use a bicycle, hand cycle, tricycle or motorized vehicle or other equipment used in the cycling leg. It is permissible however to use a legal “racing wheelchair” as that defined above in the cycling leg and the running leg of a triathlon providing there is no risk to the safety of any participant or time violation (e.g., meeting cutoff time established by the referee). The triathlete, must provide proof in advance that he/she has completed the cycling distance in his/her racing chair in a verifiable time not greater than the time required by the referee for cyclists to complete the course.

    PT5 Visual Impairment Category Conduct

    The following additional rules apply to visually impaired (VI) athletes and their guides:

    1. VI athletes must use a guide of the same gender in competition and (with few exceptions) must furnish their own guide.
    2. The VI athlete is to be tethered during the swim.
    3. The VI athlete and guide shall use a tandem bicycle.
    4. The VI athlete may choose to use an elbow lead, tether lead or to run free. The runner may receive verbal instruction only from his/her guide.
    5. No triathlete registered as an elite nor cyclist registered with a UCI trade team may participate as a guide.
    6. Paddle boards, kayaks, bicycles, motor bicycles or any other mechanical means of transport may not be used by guides on the swim or run.
    7. At no time may the guide "lead" or "pace" the athlete nor propel the athlete forward by pulling or pushing.
    8. Whether or not a tether is being used, the athlete and guide shall not be more than 0.5 meters apart at all times.
    9. As the VI athlete crosses the finish line, the guide must be beside or behind the athlete but not further than the required 0.5 meter maximum separation distance.
    10. Infringement of any these rules may, at the discretion of the Head Referee, be grounds for a time penalty or disqualification (DQ).


    Resources & Links

    The following resources and links are not affiliated with Triathlon BC, but may be of interest: BC Blind Sports A useful collection of other links regarding sport, prosthetics, community groups and clubs etc.    BC Wheelchair Sports


    Submit a link

    If there is a useful, informative website that you think would be helpful, please CLICK HERE and let us know about it.  Thank You!

    Race Director’s Resources
    - Please see the Race Sanctioning Application on the page “Sanctioning and Race Directors”