British Triathlon: 

British Triathlon reviews and adopts any necessary changes made to the rules annually by the ITU (International Triathlon Union), to keep up to date with the latest developments of the sport.

The links below will take you to the 2017 Rules and an overview of the changes made in 2017. Please ensure you familiarise yourself with them before race day. We want every participant to have a safe and enjoyable experience.


Competition Rules Pdf.        Overview of Changes.  


British Triathlon – Know the Rules.



You can also view the latest rules here:


You can see a list of common Rule Infringements here.


Rules on drafting:



Purpose of the Rossendale Triathlon Rules


  • a. Create an atmosphere of sportsmanship, equality and fairplay;
  • b. Optimise safety and protection;
  • c. Penalise competitors who seek to gain an unfair advantage;
  • e. Endorse the principle that triathlon is an individual sport and encourage individual performance and initiative.

General Rules of the Rossendale Triathlon


Competitors must:


  • Practice good sports conduct at all times
  • Exercise sound, mature judgment, and carry out all reasonable instructions from officials, obey the laws of the land and observe traffic regulations.
  • Be responsible for their own safety, the safety of their own equipment and be considerate of the safety of others.
  • Ensure they are properly prepared for the event, ensure they know the rules and full course and that their equipment is suitable and fit for the intended purpose.
  • Treat other competitors, officials, volunteers and spectators with respect and courtesy.
  • Be responsible for keeping on the designated event course. If leaving the course for any reason the course must be re-entered at the same point.
  • No competitor shall be permitted to continue racing if, in the opinion of a race official, they are physically incapable of continuing without sustaining physical damage or loss of life.
  • Be adequately clothed at all times, the minimum being a one or two piece non-transparent swim suit together with a cycling/running top if appropriate. All competitors must ensure that their upper body is clothed during the running and cycling sections.
  • Not use MP3 players, mobile phones, head phones during any part of the Triathlon.
  • Not leave equipment or discarded articles of equipment anywhere on the course. Including gel wrappers, water bottles, energy bar wrappers
  • Not alter, cut down or fold Numbers. During the run the number should be visible from the front. On the cycle the number should be visible from the rear.  Race belts are permitted.
  • Not obstruct or interfere with any other competitor. Making contact other than by accident shall be declared unsporting impedance.


Swim Rules of the Rossendale Triathlon


  • Competitors may use any stroke except backstroke to complete the 400m swim
  • In an emergency, a competitor should raise an arm overhead and call for assistance.
  • A competitor must wear the swim cap provided on pool side
  • Any artificial propulsion device, e.g. fin, sock, glove, paddle or flotation device is prohibited.
  • Competitors must swim in the direction they are instructed by the lane counter.
  • Tumble turns are permitted but please be aware that the shallow end of Marl Pits Pool is indeed shallow!
  • Volunteers will be counting lengths; however it is the responsibility of the competitor to count their own lengths.
  • Please be considerate to the race marshals, who are all volunteers and are there to assist in the safe and enjoyable running of the event. Any abuse given to marshals for whatever reason will result in disqualification.


Cycle  Rules of the Rossendale Triathlon


  • Every competitor must ensure that his/her cycle is in a safe and roadworthy condition and conforms to the technical specifications laid down by the British Triathlon Association.
  • Bikes will be checked for road worthiness before being permitted into the transition area. Any bicycle not considered safe to race on will be refused entry to the transition area.
  • Friends, family members or pets are not permitted into the transition areas.
  • Each cycle rack will be numbered; competitors should place their bike in the allocated rack.
  • All competitors must obey traffic laws unless otherwise directed by a race official.
  • All competitors are advised that normal road safety regulations must be obeyed, as the route will take place on public highways. Please be alert to the presence of other competitors and Sunday morning drivers
  • Any part of the cycle course may be covered on foot, but the competitor must push or carry their own bike.
  • Helmets are compulsory and must be fastened before the competitors cycle is moved from its allotted place in the transition area and must remain fastened until the cycle is returned to this position at the end of the cycling section.
  • Competitors are not allowed to draft, i.e. take shelter behind/beside another competitor/ vehicle during the cycle section.


Run rules of the Rossendale Triathlon


  • A competitor may not crawl.
  • A competitor may not run with a bare torso or without shoes on any part of the run course
  • All competitors must complete 3 laps of the run course. (See course description for details)
  • Appeals must be made in writing to the race referee within 1 hour of a penalty being notified and be accompanied by a £15 refundable fee if the appeal is upheld. Appeals cannot be made against ‘judgment calls’ by officials.
  • For full technical & competition rules, please visit




  • The decision of race officials is final and any verbal dispute will result in disqualification. Any penalties will be adjusted on the final time.
  • Helmet violation 2 min
  • Number violation 2 min
  • Riding in transition 2 min
  • Drafting 2 min



  • Abusive behavior
  • Breaking road traffic regulations
  • Dangerous riding
  • Outside assistance
  • 2 drafting violations
  • Any fashion violations