What is a Gigathlon?

So, you’ve done a few triathlons. Maybe even done an Ironman. Not bad my friend, not bad at all. But have you ever heard of Gigathlon? No? We hadn’t either until a recent trip to Switzerland. And they love it over there.

Whereas triathlon is made up of three disciplines, Gigathlon is made up of five; swimming, cycling, mountain biking, inline skating and running. And unlike triathlon, it takes place over two days. So not only do you spend all day moving between the different disciplines, but you have to sleep in a tent and do them all the day after as well. Yep, it sounds pretty tough. Add to that the fact that most Gigathlons take place in the Alpine regions of Switzerland, meaning there’s a hell of a lot of climbing, you start to understand that it’s a serious event.

But you don’t have to do it all yourself. Yes, you can take part as an individual which means you’ll have to cover distances of around 500 kilometres across the 2 days, with elevation of anything up to 6,000 feet. But you can also do it as a pair or as part of a five person team, which to us sounds a bit more feasible.

Around 6,000 athletes take part in Gigathlon events every year, a number that has been steadily growing since it’s birth in 1998. It’s become so popular with our Swiss friends that the Czech Republic will be hosting their first Gigathlon in Lipno, South Bohemia in 2016.

Unlike your annual triathlon or marathon, Gigathlon courses change every year. So even if you have done it before, doing it again will mean taking a completely new route. So it’s always interesting, that is, unless you like covering the same route multiple times (we don’t).

Because the course changes, the distances of each individual section are not specified, and neither are the time limits for each segment. You’ll just have to wait and see what the courses look like for the 2016 series of events.

To find out for about Gigathlon when the information is available (it isn’t yet, but will be soon), including where they’re hosted and how much it costs, head over to the website here.

Picture credits: gigathlon.ch, www.steineggerpix.com, remy steinegger