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Intimidated by Event Cut-off Times? Here’s Why You Should Sign Up Anyway

Intimidated by Event Cut-off Times? Here’s Why You Should Sign Up Anyway

Recently, someone got in touch with our team at Marauder. They wanted to know what the cut-off time was for an endurance event they were looking to enter.

As a first-time triathlete, this person had no idea how long it might take them to complete the whole event. Naturally, they were worried about lagging way behind, or even being asked to leave before they could finish.

(Let’s face it, we’ve all seen TV footage from the final moments of London Marathons, when event organisers start closing down the race around athletes who are still trying to complete it).

If you’ve also been fearing the dreaded event cut-off time, then let us first reassure you that it’s completely normal.

However, you don’t have to let the issue of timing keep you awake at night, as there are lots of things event organisers can do to help alleviate your worries.

Why are event cut-off times necessary?

There are a number of practical reasons why endurance event cut-off times exist – and none of them involve shaming hard-working athletes.

One reason is simple logistics. Some routes involve road closures and permit applications, many of which can only stay in place for a certain period of time.

Another is safety. Daylight plays a key role in determining how long athletes can remain on certain routes, and there also needs to be continuous support and facilities available, particularly for longer races.

Marauder events are marshalled by experienced volunteers from local triathlon clubs, for example, with emergency medical assistance, pit stations, and bike technicians also on hand for any last-minute repairs.

What forms do event cut-off times take?

Cut-off times can be based from individual timing chips, or if everybody is starting together, from the beginning of the race.

Many triathlon events include a different cut-off time for each individual discipline, which can seem intimidating to first-time triathletes in particular. What happens if you complete the swim in record time, then lag way behind on the run?

However, although individual cut-off times will vary according to the organiser and event – they are especially advised for longer races – they will usually be generous enough for athletes of all abilities to complete.

As a general guide, the most common cut-off times are around three hours for sprints, four-and-a-half hours for standard races, and eight-and-a-half for middle-distance. Standard and middle swim cut-off times are an hour and ten-to-fifteen minutes, and standard bike cut-off times up to three hours and fifteen minutes (five-and-a-half hours for middle). Most events would then include a cut-off time of up to an hour and a half for a 10k run.

Marauder events follow a cut-off time policy according to their overall length, giving athletes the best chance of completing without feeling under pressure. Super sprint and sprint events feature a cut-off time for the overall event, with individual guidance times set for Olympic and middle-distance events.

Stronger together

When you sign up for a Marauder event, you will automatically join the Marauder Community: a friendly group of like-minded, mixed-ability athletes.

Not only does this give you the opportunity to chat with other athletes before the race, but you’ll also be grouped on the day with those of a similar ability to you.

So, if it’s your first triathlon, don’t worry. You’ll be surrounded by plenty of others who are feeling that same, brand-new mix of nerves, excitement, and fired-up energy. Not only can you support each-other through the race, you could even train together afterwards too, so that your finishing time gradually improves with each event you enter.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Marauder team includes an experienced advisory panel with members from Triathlon England and Triathlon Yorkshire.

We know exactly what it takes to participate in a multi-sport endurance event, whether for the first time or the fiftieth. That unique glow of accomplishment you experience at the end of every race matters, which is why we do our best to work with event participants, and exercise as much flexibility as possible regarding cut-off times.

Time to gather your cheering committee

Athletes work hard to prepare for an endurance event, so we actively encourage crowds to loudly cheer them on!

Not only can you bring as many of your friends, family, and other supporters as you like, but if you’re feeling nervous about participating, you’re welcome to come to any event as a spectator first.

We all but guarantee that the fun, high-spirited atmosphere you’ll experience will leave you raring to participate as soon as you can!

Ultimately, we at Marauder want every athlete to learn, grow, and achieve their best results with us. So why not take a look at our calendar of events, and make a commitment by signing up for your favourite?

Then, clear a space for those event medals, and get ready to wear your finisher’s T-shirt with pride.