Family Runaway – Spending A Day On A San Diego Triathlon

There’s nothing like a sporting event for modeling positive attitudes towards fitness and seeing diversity in action. The San Diego Triathlon also makes for a great family outing. The atmosphere is friendly and lively, and every family member can be included in the fun.

The Triathlon has been running (and swimming, and cycling!) since 2009; 2017 will be the eighth time it has graced the city, and it has been well-organized from day one. Whether you’re competing, volunteering or spectating, the event is set up to go as smoothly as possible so everyone can enjoy it.


It actually takes place over two days, but the Friday is an information afternoon, from 2 pm until 7 pm. There’s a Sports and Fitness Expo, briefings about the race, and a Q & A with the Race Directors. The main day, when the action happens, is the day after.

Saturday starts for racers at 5 am, when they can start setting up their equipment in the transition area. Crowds gather by 6 am for the playing of the national anthem by the Marine Corps Band, and for the start of the race. The top triathletes will be finishing at around 8:30 am when the post-race festival begins. The two awards ceremonies are at 9 am and 10:30 am, then the post-race festival goes on until 12:30 pm.

How to get involved

Registration is open all the way through to the day before the race unless it’s sold out, and the age categories start from 1-19, so everyone has the chance to join in! To cheer on a family member, the best place to be is the transition area bleachers – watch your loved one start, change over between sections of the race, and then finish. If you miss out on a seat, you can grab yourself a place on Ingraham Plaza, where you’ll get prime views of the running and cycling stages. And of course, there’ll be plenty of time to congratulate your family member after he or she has passed the finish line.

If you’re not competing, you can still get involved through volunteering, which is a great family activity for giving back to the community. Hand out water while your children give out medals to the triathletes as they complete the course, knowing that you’re supporting a charitable event. It’s a really positive way to spend a day, and the organizers kindly give volunteers a t-shirt and a goodie bag to thank them for their time. Signing up to help is easy via the official race website.


A few roads are closed leading up to the Triathlon, but access to parking is mostly unaffected. The parking, which is free, can be found near to Liberty Station NTC Park, the hub of the race. The spaces are on the east side of Historic Decatur Road, where it crosses Roosevelt Road and Dewey Road, and opposite Moment Bicycles. It’s recommended that you get there early to guarantee a parking space, and a good spot if you’re spectating, there is also apps for Valet Parking that help make this easier.

Whether racing, watching or volunteering, there’s a lot you can get out of the San Diego Triathlon as a family, and make it a day to remember.

About the author: JT Lyons grew up riding the canyons of San Diego on his single speed Huffy. Some time in between falling in love with his Huffy and the 200+ triathlons he’s competed in, JT created the San Diego Triathlon Classic. For more information or to sign up, check out

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