Introduction to Paratriathlon

PNO File Photo

First Utah, then Brazil… Paratriathlon is bringing out the best.

The sport of paratriathlon will be in the spotlight as it goes international with its debut this September in Brazil at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. However, you can get an early look at the grueling event at the 36th National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG), in Salt Lake City.

Under development for over 15 years by the International Triathlon Union, paratriathlon will debut at the NVWG June 27- July 2. Unlike most adaptive sports, in paratriathlon, athletes with disabilities compete among able-bodied athletes participating in the triathlon. The main difference is the equipment used depending on the classification. They range from visual impairments to amputees to wheelchair users, with accepted supportive aides and devices defined by classification.

PNO File Photo


Paratriathlon itself contains three components.

-       Biking 10km (6.2 miles)

-       Swim 200m (218 yards)

-       Road Race 2.5K (1.5 miles)


Salt Lake City, once host to the 2002 Paralympics, will hold the first NVWG paratriathlon at Liberty Park on June 30. Just 15 minutes southeast of the convention center, Liberty Park is the oldest and most prominent park in Utah. With a swimming pool and 100 acres of land, paratriathlon participants and fans will have a scenic view as the race reflects the USA Paratriathlon Super Sprint distance.

Co-sponsored by the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the NVWG aims to encourage friendly competition between athletes. With this year’s theme being three words that every athlete aims to live by, “Strive, Live, Conquer,” it’s only fitting that the only three component sport be introduced this year. Considered as one of the most intense events, triathlon requires months of training and paratriathlon is no different. Veterans will put their hard work and training to the test.


Things to know about watching a Paratriathlon


  • Don’t give participants food and water from the sidelines.  This can result in disqualification, only event approved water stations are allowed to give things to the athletes.
  • Always be sportsmanlike. We’re a respectful and courteous supportive community.
  • No flash photography. It can be distracting to the athletes.


Make sure to check back with PN Online for updates, photos and videos from the NVWG starting June 27. 

Keep track of your events with the NVWG mobile app available for download for Android and iPhone


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