Ironman new rules: Learn more

On February 5th, Ironman announced several changes on the competition rules for this year, aiming to align the rules with the International Triathlon Union (ITU). Here are the main changes:

  1. Increased draft zone to 12 meters also for age group triathletes (from 10 meters), same distance as the professionals, for both Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events. The draft zone distance will continue to be measured from the front wheel of the leading athlete to the front wheel of the following athlete; roughly equal to six bike lengths of clear space between athletes. The time allowed to pass another athlete will increase from 20 seconds to 25 seconds.


  2. Modifications to the modified the “three strikes and you’re out” rule. Only blue card rule violations (drafting and intentional littering) will count towards an athlete’s three strikes and lead to a disqualification. Yellow card rule violations (all other penalties) do not count towards an athlete’s three strikes. The intention here is to give heavier penalties for a) rule violations that result in an unfair advantage, or b) tarnish our local venues. That said, the IRONMAN Competition Rules still allow an athlete to be disqualified for repeated rule violations should someone receive excessive yellow card violations
  3. Snorkels will be prohibited. The interpretation of the old rule put the snorkel in a very gray area, since no extra equipment is allowed in the swim leg, with the new rule however,  snorkels are prohibit
  4. Permission to swim with sleeved trisuits  this is highly important in non-wetsuit races (most in Asia), the length allowed changes from the shoulders to the elbows. We can also expect to see speedsuits brands coming out with newer models to take advantage of this.
  5. No standard back up plan when swim is cancelled, organizers may decide according to their own preferences if the new format of their event will be a bike/run combo or a duathlon (run/bike/run).

By aligning the rules with ITU, there’s the possibility in the future both Ironman and ITU championships races will be unified. For example, the Long Distance European Championships is a Challenge event, and we may see Ironman also stepping in this format.


> View the 2016 IRONMAN Competition Rules



Follow us
Share this article



See also:  Ironman Announces a New Race in Argentina