How Much Does A Triathlon Cost?

by - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I've gotten a couple of questions from people about how much triathlons cost, so I thought I'd take the time to spell out just how much I've spent on this sport since I got into it last November.

For some background, I was starting basically from scratch. I've run for years, but I've never done much more than that, so I had a lot of very high initial start-up costs in terms of gear and equipment. Most of the things I bought, I will be able to use over and over again in future races, so that made me feel a little bit better about spending the money.

Triathlon transition

By nature I am an extremely frugal person. There's nothing I hate more than wasting money on unnecessary things, so I promise this list isn't full of splurge items for fun, but rather gear and equipment that I felt was necessary to get me through my training and races successfully.

Ready for the list? With costs? (I'm kind of afraid to see this all totaled up in one place!)

Here we go!


  • Sprint Tri Registration: $119
  • Oly Tri Registration: $211
Total: $330


Biking during TriRock Annapolis
  • Bike: $668
  • Helmet: $20
  • Bike Pump: $38
  • Bike Shorts: $35 (They were on 50% off sale!)
  • Bike Tune Up and Pedals Upgrade: $52
Total: $813


Swim start at the TriRock Annapolis
  • Pool Membership: $191
  • Wetsuit: $75
  • Open Water Swim Clinic: $43
Total: $309

Other Miscellaneous Costs:

  • Tri Shorts: $70
  • GU/Fuel: $14
  • Hotel for Philly Tri: $80
Total: $164

Grand Total Spent on my First Tri Season: $1,616

Like I said, it's expensive, but many of these costs are one-time investments. I'm not going to need to go out and buy another bike any time soon. Same with the wetsuit. Other than paying entry fees, my next triathlon season, should be significantly cheaper than this one.

If all this seems overwhelming and way, way too expensive, Katy actually wrote a great post about how to do a triathlon for less than $10. While I don't think everything on her list is totally feasible (I live where it's cold, early season tris require wetsuits), it might give you some ideas as to where you could trim costs.

But even with cost savings, triathlons are by nature expensive sports, especially if you're looking to be competitive. If I hadn't gotten a promotion at work last year, there's almost no way I could have afforded to lay down this kind of money on a new sport. If you're looking to get into triathlons, you should be aware that there are some big costs that can go along with them.

For those of you who regularly compete in triathlons, how do you keep your costs down?

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