Each year, IRONMAN updates and changes their rules and regulations to best suit its athletes for the upcoming season. In an announcement from IRONMAN last week, head referee Jimmy Riccitello explained the six minor changes for 2017.

Familiarize yourself with these rule changes before you head to your first race of the season:

  1. Disc Brakes – All road and triathlon bicycles with disc brakes are now allowed in all non-drafting middle and long distance triathlons around the world.
  2. Yellow Card Penalties – As an effort to standardize penalty times, racers are now to sit in the penalty tent or on the course for one minute after an official flashes a yellow card at them. This is called the one-minute stop-and-go penalty.
  3. Zipper Uniforms – Wetsuits or uniforms with a front zipper must not be undone below the breastbone, and failure to zip up will result in a disqualification. This rule was created to better align with the global standard, prohibiting bare torsos during the bike and run.
  4. Cell Phones – The strict cell phone ban is now erased – however, athletes are still prohibited from using “communication devices” in any unsafe or distractive manners, which include making and receiving phone calls or text messages, playing music, using social media and taking pictures. Any of those actions may result in disqualification. “We understand and appreciate how technology is evolving the sport of triathlon,” Riccitello says.
  5. PC Guides – Visually impaired participants may now use, and are encouraged to use, a single guide of either gender while competing in the Physically Challenged division.
  6. Stricter Bike Checks – IRONMAN officials will use the ITU rules to monitor athlete’s bikes for technological fraud through the use of motors in bike frames or wheels.

The updated 2017 IRONMAN Competition Rules will take effect March 1 in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Because the season has already begun in Asia and Oceania, the rules there will be gradually rolled out on a race-by-race basis.

“Like last year, there may still be some subtle rule difference due to local laws or policies, at a few IRONMAN venues,” Riccitello warns. “Therefore, athletes should always familiarize themselves with their event’s Athlete Information Guide prior to race day.”

View all competition rules on IRONMAN’s Rules and Regulations page.


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