Isoman triathlon, equal tiathlon, triathlon equality


Billed as the first truly ‘equal’ triathlon, this new format is a race for triathletes who want to see just how well-rounded they are with a smaller bike, and a much longer swim.  
Where: Arrow Valley Countryside Centre, Worcestershire.ISOMAN_Triathlon
When: July (since 2015).
Distances: ‘Quarter’, ‘Half’ and ‘Full’. See pie chart for an idea!
Reviewed by Zoe Forman
Tips and advice for Isoman Triathlon:
  • Take some flip flops / Crocs to leave at swim exit to walk to T1 or change tents.triathlon tips, triathlon reviews
  • Consider goggles – tinted or clear dependant on weather as its a long swim and light will change. Also make sure they are anti fogging or you will get annoyed with them.
  • Take an easy identifiable bottle for swim feed station, add gels with elastic bands so marshals & you can spot your bottle easily.
  • Stopping at swim feed station every lap is not necessary, consider every other lap, 1.6 miles
  • Just because you have 7 / 5 mins in transition don’t faff around any longer, not necessary
  • Use a distance watch if you have one as there are no distance markers on the bike or the run course
  • Bike course on dual carriage way when climbing the incline be careful of the traffic on slip roads joining and leaving the dual carriageway, luckily for me it was quiet when I was on this mile stretch.
  • Keep eyes peeled for direction signs as when on bike you cannot see other cyclists ahead due to turns & twists in the road
  • On the run be aware of other park users, stray footballs, loose dogs & kids, pushchairs, scooters & cyclists are all around you enjoying their day out too
  • If a hot day make use of the wet sponges & plentiful stocked feed stations


What is Isoman Triathlon?

According to the organisers of Isoman Triathlon, long distance triathletes spend around 10% of the total race time swimming, 54% of the time cycling and 36% running. The aim of Isoman, they say is to ‘address this imbalance and create a triathlon for which all disciplines demand an equal level of excellence’. Not only are the distances readjusted but transitions are also different – you can take up to 7 mins and not be penalized! Here’s our news piece about it when it was announced.
isoman pie chart distancesisoman_piechart







What’s the verdict on Isoman Triathlon?

Isoman 2015 swimThis was the first year but, as Zoe Foreman writes, it was surprisingly well put together – I would give the inaugural ISOMAN 8/10, it is a great concept and format and with a few tweaks and changes could be a great must do event for all whatever your triathlon distance.

It really was a good first time event and I’d highly recommend it and would love to do it again.  It would be great to see it added to club championships for something different giving swimmers a chance to shine and not let the runners and cyclists take all the glory!

Costs were reasonable for 2015 and with earlybird offers for 2016 the half distance is less than £100 which you got a finishers t-shirt, medal, well stocked feed station on run, free socks & gels in goody bag. I stayed in a Premier Inn just 8 minute drive from the event which again for a Friday night was reasonably priced. Total cost for Friday & Saturday, event, travel, hotel & food was less than £160.
With a few tweaks (more signage, feed station for half distance cycle ride, carpeted change area in transition, more signage & marshals, make finish line special place ) this really could be a Must Do Event and I’d love to see it in a few triathlon club championships to mix things up.

What was the course and organisation like?

Registration and race briefing was easy and thorough with some nice goodies in form of socks, water bottles, gels etc. 

SWIM: The lake is huge and even when the course had full, half & quarter swimmers in there was little to no congestion. The fresh water lake is cloudy, you cant see your hands enter the water but is clean with no smell or taste. There are also hundreds of curious geese to keep you company! Isoman 2015 bike

The swim is a three point star and depending on direction sighting on buoys into the sun can be tricky so look for gaps in the tree line or rowing club building to sight.

TRANSITION: Transition is rustic but organised, underfoot littered with puddles, hardcore & gravel, best to take some shoes – watch you step in cycle cleats too. The minimum transition of 7 minutes was now active, this was another equaliser T1 was 7 minutes for all and T2 was 5 minutes. If you were quicker than this there was no gain, if slower this was just added to the next discipline time.

BIKE: The bike route is mostly undulating windy country lanes. Luckily the roads around this part of Redditch on a Saturday morning were quiet as we headed out along a few A roads, however there is a mile of the devil dual carriage way, which is a grind up an incline, boring and has a joining & exit slip way where you need to keep alert of motor traffic around you.

A few more confirmation signs on course wouldn’t go a miss as well as a T2/ finish sign, as on a roundabout I went left back onto the loop following a first lap sign instead of straight ahead back to finish bike course. Plus more marshals located at roundabouts and junctions would help all. A few cyclists missed turns & signs and rode over distance. ( an easy fix for next year)

isoman triathlon worcestershire medalFor the half distance there was no feed station on the bike, as it was a hot day most of us came in with dry bottles, a water stop at approx. 20 miles would be a great addition

RUN: The run starts with a fiddly grass/trail off road section to get you onto the main loop, be careful on the uneven terrain and holes. After this section it is a flat fast course. The majority of the run is on tarmac paths with some hard packed trails through and around the Arrow Valley Park. A couple of turn points on loops could be clearer, but after the first lap you work them out and it makes sense. 

Feed station under the bridge is well stocked and gives a brief rest in the shade, use this as the main feed station, you pass it twice per lap. There was just water and bananas at the finish /new lap start.

The finish area is an anticlimax, the marshals are unsure if you are just passing through for another lap or have actually finished your event. By filtering lapping runners around the arch and only finishers go through would improve this part, as medals could be at the ready for finishers rather than having to ask for them. 


We asked organiser Mark Tanner about the future of the race and here’s what he said:

“We were very pleased with how the first event went. It was a large undertaking for the four of us that organised it (With lots of help from family and friends). 

In particular we were pleased to have helped raise over £2000 for Leukaemia Lymphoma research. We have many ideas on how to improve, including better signs for the bike course (Somebody had used similar signs to ours for a different bike race on part of the course). We will be putting a toilet at the run nutrition stop. More directional arrows on the ground of the run course and we will endeavour to recruit even more marshals (We had over 90 people helping us on the day). 

This is definitely a more rounded Triathlon and it was interesting to note that the winner was also the most equal athlete.”


What do you think? Is this the way Tri should go?


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