The 36 Hour Rule Explained


As many of you know, the ITU has a rule that prohibits competing in two events that are less than 36 hours apart. Specifically Rule 2.5 i.) states that: “Athletes may not compete within 36 hours in more than one triathlon or multisport event when one event is of standard distance or longer.” An exception is made for an aquathlon and relays. 


The Technical Sub-committee of Alberta Triathlon sought clarification on this rule during the preparation of the 2017 Alberta Triathlon rules. The information and advice we received came from Dr. Sergio Migliorini M.D, Sports Medicine Specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and ITU Medical Committee Chair. Dr. Migliorini stated, in part: 

Triathletes do “extreme amounts of exercise”. Some empirical as well epidemiological data suggest that such excess may be associated with DNA modulation, increase of cardiovascular or pulmonary events and/or impaired immune status; immune suppression can occur within the post-race recovery and also rhabdomyolysis and sometimes acute renal failure. 

Considering the literature data, about the relationship between the saturated competition programme and the potential health consequences, some authors observed a significant relationship between the numbers of races per season/participation in competition/time spent competing and the overuse injury incidence. 

Also, the experience in the field suggests a reduction to the number of races per year, particularly for the Youth and the Age Group athletes, and to have a correct recovery between the races. 

Triathlon Alberta - 36 Hour Rule Actions & Waiver

In other words, athletes, particularly those inclined to do multiple races over a weekend, are more susceptible to injury and disease up to and including sudden death! Accordingly, Alberta Triathlon will take the following actions:

  1. Request Race Directors with two or more races within a 36 hour period that meet the criteria to work with their registration software to identify persons signing up for two or more races. 
  2. Require the persons identified to have a Medical Doctor complete the attached medical permission and waiver form and forward it to Alberta Triathlon prior to the first race they have scheduled in the 36 hour period or hand the form to the Head Referee before the start of the first race. 
  3. Athletes not providing the form, or who provide the form late, or who race at the races of two different Race Directors without providing a form to Alberta Triathlon, will be disqualified from both races.
  4. Athletes that are discovered at the race competing without the medical permission and waiver will be stopped, disqualified and removed from the race for a medical examination on-sight. This is a field-of-play decision and is not subject to appeal! 
  5. Athletes who are discovered to have raced a second or subsequent time without the medical permission and waiver being completed may be subject to review and possible suspension from Alberta Triathlon.

Download the 36 Hour Rule PDF.

Download the Racing Within 36 Hours – Medical Permission and Waiver Form.