Qualify For the World Championships (Even If You’ve Never Done a Multisport Race)

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June 5, 2013

Synopsis – finish the USAT Duathlon National Championships in Tucson, Arizona on October 26, 2013 and there is a high probability you will qualify for Team USA and the 2014 Duathlon World Championships in Spain.  Even if you’ve never done a duathlon in your life.  Photo by David Sanders/USA Triathlon

Have you ever wanted to race in the triathlon or duathlon world championships but thought there’s no way you could qualify?  Think again.  It’s probably easier than you think.  Qualifying for the Triathlon World Championships is not easy.  The competition is intense and you’ve got to be fast to qualify.  But if you want to experience the World Championships consider the ITU Duathlon World Championships.

This article will outline the procedure for American athletes.  If you’re in another country, look into the qualifying procedures.  Outside of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and the host country, other countries won’t have a full team. Ask your federation about qualifying procedures and take a shot at making the team.

Why should you do it?

  • It’s a fantastic experience that you’ll never forget
  • Meet lots of great people
  • Represent your country
  • It’s a great vacation

The 2013 race is in Ottawa, Canada on August 10.  Americans can no longer qualify.  But the 2014 Duathlon World Championships are in Pontevedra, Spain. The date has not been announced (I’d guess August or September) as of June, 2013.  No promises, but I’d expect a great event from a Spanish venue.  Racing in Europe has a feel that can’t be replicated in the United States.

If your goal is to race for the United States you have one option: the Duathlon National Championships in Tucson/Oro Valley, Arizona on October 26, 2013.  At the National Championships you can do the sprint distance (2.5k run, 17.5k bike, 2.5k run) or the standard distance (5k run, 35k bike, 5k run).

The US will award 18 spots for each age group to the World Championships in both the sprint distance and standard distance (36 people per age group!).  Spots will roll down to 25th, so you could take 25th in the age group in either race and get a spot on Team USA if 7 people in front of you pass on their spot.  There’s a good chance that spots will roll down to 25th in most age groups.

To determine the competition to qualify for 2014 Worlds I looked at the 2012 USAT National Championship results.  This was on the same course in Tucson and it was the sole qualifying race for the standard distance (the sprint race at Nationals was not a qualifier).  Qualifying was the same: 18 spots per age group, rolling down to 25th.

Here are number of finishers for selected age groups:

2011 Duathlon National Championships Tucson
Age Group Female Finishers Male Finishers
20-24 5 13
30-34 9 20
40-44 25 42
50-54 19 33
60-64 8 22

The race had 423 finishers in 2011.  I’d expect a bigger turnout in 2013.  The complete results are available by clicking here.

So consider that in 2013 the field will be diluted because there are two races in which to qualify: the standard and sprint distance.  The result is that a great majority of finishers, especially in the women’s age groups, will qualify for Team USA.  The more competitive age groups are men between 35 and 59.

I’m not suggesting you qualify for Team USA for your ego.  Most athletes won’t have a chance to medal. The real value of this race are the friends and memories made along the way.

My hope is that at least one person who has never done a multisport race will read this and qualify for the Duathlon World Championships.  You don’t have to be fast.  You just have to qualify.

The race website for the USAT 2013 Duathlon National Championships is located here.

Eric Schwartz is a long time duathlete (2004 National Champion), coach, and duathlon advocate.  His duathlon training plans are located here: http://bit.ly/duathlontrainingplans.  His Triathlete Training podcast is available in iTunes and at TriathleteTraining.com.  

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