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Quest Vs triathlons so similar, yet so different.

Triathlons have been, for many years, considered a true test of one’s fitness as it combines three vastly different sports of swimming, running and cycling all in one non-stop race.

Quest races and adventure races in general are a different breed though. Quest can be compared to a triathlon as it contains a cycling element, a running part and some cold-water activities as well. This is where the similarities end. Whilst triathlons are the stomping ground of many hairless, sleek, well-kitted out athletes; adventure racing embraces the more ‘natural’ side of things. Lengthy beards and kit that has seen better days abound because as all adventure racers know, it’s not always about style, but substance! Obviously, we’re kidding here, both types of events are frequented by all sorts of people!

The main differences from a tri are as follows.


In triathlons the transitions are a hive of tightly-regimented activity, where precious seconds can be gained or lost. In adventure racing these transitions, while important, can be less frantic for some and seen as an opportunity to change your shoes and grab your breath. In tri, you have an allocated spot and gearbox at the single transition. In adventure racing, you have to carry all your equipment with you on the bike as there can be multiple transitions depending on the route.


While most triathlon routes are on paved roads and pathways, Quest takes a more adventures approach. The routes consist of much more varied terrain. The running sections range from park gravel paths to open off-road sections on the top of a mountain. There can be a variety of footing, roots and mud involved in Quest runs.

For triathlon the general consensus is the flatter the better while the opposite is true for adventure racing, the more hills the better!


This is the main difference. In triathlon events you will have to get into cold water and swim. While in Quest adventure races you kayak on the water instead, usually for distance of about 1km. You don’t get as wet while in the kayak (well that’s the plan anyway). So, this is great for anyone who isn’t a fan of swimming in big groups or in open water (or anywhere for that matter!). Arguably anyone can kayak on first attempt but this can’t be said of swimming.

Whilst most people may have no kayaked since a school tour or the scouts, it is honestly a great part of the day!


High-tech and spec gear is often quite valued in triathlon. Expensive bikes, tri-suits and club gear can all form part of the sport whilst adventure racing is predicated on ‘no fancy gear required.’

Triathlon and adventure races are both great sporting activities and awesome ways to get fit and challenge yourself.  We’re biased obviously because we believe nothing beats the locations and the camaraderie you encounter on a Quest adventure race – but then you probably knew that!

Quest Wales in next up on the adventure racing calendar on 8th June. This is followed by the endurance distance event Quest 12/24 on 31st August. The first event Quest Lough Derg takes place on 14th September and Quest Killarney wraps up the adventure racing year on 12th October.