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5 Jun 2024
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OBX Triathlon - Everything to Know
Exploring the Outer Banks Triathlon: Your Guide to Adventure & Competition

The Outer Banks Triathlon stands as one of the premier athletic events on the East Coast, drawing athletes from all over to compete in its scenic and challenging course. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the OBX coast, this triathlon offers a unique blend of rigorous competition and stunning natural beauty. Keep reading to find out more about the event as we get you ready for the race with essential preparation tips, key information that you'll need to know before you go, and a guide to the local amenities that make the Outer Banks a top destination for both athletes and spectators. Whether you're a seasoned triathlete or a first-time competitor, we want you to have the best experience in the race and during your visit here to the Outer Banks!

What to Expect from the Outer Banks Triathlon

Overview of Event

The Outer Banks Triathlon takes place in the breathtaking coastal region of the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Spanning a full weekend, this event includes multiple race distances catering to various levels of athleticism, from sprint to full Olympic triathlon distances. Participants swim in the clear waters of the Croatan Sound, bike along scenic coastal roads, and run through charming seaside communities. The triathlon fosters a welcoming, community-focused atmosphere, where local residents and visitors come together to cheer on the athletes, creating an encouraging and supportive environment that enhances the overall experience.

The Importance of Race Incentives

One of the standout features of the Outer Banks Triathlon is the array of enticing race incentives that add to the rewarding nature of the event. Perks such as free beer and delicious local food not only celebrate the athletes' hard work but also enhance the festive spirit of the event. These incentives serve as a delightful way to unwind and socialize post-race, contributing to the sense of camaraderie and community that defines the Outer Banks Triathlon.

Hosting Organization

The Outer Banks Triathlon is organized by Outer Banks Sporting Events (OBSE), a dedicated organization known for hosting premier sporting events in the region. OBSE plays a crucial role in managing the triathlon, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for all participants. Their expertise in event coordination, coupled with their commitment to promoting healthy, active lifestyles, makes the OBSE an integral part of the success and popularity of the Outer Banks Triathlon.

The Races: Sprint and Half Triathlon Details

One of the best things about the Outer Banks Triathlon is the options! Whether you're looking for the full Olympic distance or a sprint, the Outer Banks Triathlon gives you the chance to swim, bike, and run in one of the most beautiful places in the world! 

Olympic Triathlon

For competitors wanting to do the full Olympic-length challenge, Outer Banks Triathlon offers three options: the Olympic Tri, the Olympic Aquabike, and the Olympic Relay. The Olympic Triathlon is 1500 meters (0.93 miles) for swimming, 40 kilometers (25 miles) for biking, and 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) for running.

Sprint Triathlon

If you want the triathlon experience with a little bit of a shorter distance, check out: the Sprint Tri, the Sprint Aquabike, and the Sprint Relay. The Sprint Triathlon is 750 meters (0.465 miles) for swimming, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) for biking, and 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) for running.

Tips & Preparation

Whether you're a seasoned racer or a beginner to the world of triathlons, adequate prep before the Outer Banks triathlon can make all the difference between a PR and getting hurt! Keep reading for more tips and tricks to making the Outer Banks Triathlon your best race ever!

*This information is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider undertaking a new health care routine or making any changes to your workout regimen.

Enjoy the Ride

This is arguably one of the most important things to keep in mind when going into your triathlon. Have fun! You've worked hard, planned, and trained, don't let the worry of race day get to you. You're about to race in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Focus on yourself and your experience. Whether you're trying for first or just want to finish, if you're not having fun, it's not worth it. Don't stress about the details, just get ready to swim, bike, and run!

Set a Realistic Goal

Both before and during the race, think about what you want to accomplish. Are you aiming for a certain time or position? A specific feeling achievement? Whatever it is you're hoping to achieve, keep this in mind while you're training and while you're in the thick of it. If there's a road bump during the race, take it in stride. These things are part of the process. Hold onto your goals and your big reason "why." Let that carry you through when it starts to get hard.

Include Strength & Conditioning Exercises

We know you're training a lot of cardio for each of the races, but it's important to balance out your workouts. Strength and conditioning, like weight lifting and core workouts, will help you reach your goals in each of the challenges - pushing you forward to be your very best!

Prepare for Transitions

Transitioning between events can either help propel you forward or hinder you if you try to stop too much. The biggest thing to remember is that transitioning doesn't mean resting. You don't want to stop and lose your momentum! Plan each transition out and get ready to prep your gear, hydrate quickly, and go!

Focus on Nutrition

Plan out your nutrition routine while you're training and don't change it up the morning of the race. Trying something new is almost always a bad idea, especially since you don't know how your body, or your stomach, is going to respond. Stick with what you know, something simple like a bagel with peanut butter, and plan your energy gels for throughout the race. Practice which carbs and proteins help give you the best results and be sure to have those ready for race day.

Don't Psyche Yourself Out

Don't self-sabotage before the race even starts. There are a lot of unknowns and race-day jitters are real, but don't let that hold you back. You've mastered our body, now master your mind! Stay confident and keep the positive affirmations coming on race day. Maybe have a mantra or an image that will help push you forward. If you believe you can do it, you can!

Make a Packing List Before You Leave

Going on vacation usually involves packing and many of us like lists. If you're planning to tri during your vacation, be sure to account for your race packing list and include everything you'll need for the race. Pack up your kit and be sure to remember all the main essentials (including a helmet) as well as anything extra you may need for afterward, like bandaids, energy gels, etc. Remember that old saying: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Have Fun!

This is about you and your amazing accomplishments. Get out there, kick that triathlon's butt, and make the most amazing memories. You got this!!

Things to Know

Here are some of the most important things you need to know for race day! Visit Outer Banks Sporting Events for this information and more, including registration information, rules and regulations, and day-of updates!

Photo ID Required

All athletes are required to show a photo ID. Have your bib number ready! If you don’t know your bib number, there will be a separate line up to request it. Knowing your bib number expedites the pickup process. NO PHOTO ID, NO RACE, NO EXCEPTIONS.

USAT Rules

Athletes may only pick up their own packets. Under no circumstances may an athlete pick up a packet for another person. All relay members must be present to receive the packet, or we will split up the relay packet for each participant. Youth athletes without an ID must be accompanied by a parent/guardian with a photo ID. Parents cannot pick the packet up if the youth athlete is not with them.

Click here for more info on USAT rules and common violations

Packet Pick-Up Schedule (w/ Mandatory Bike Drop)

Packet Pickup:
Friday, September 13, 1-6 p.m.
Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island
1401 National Park Dr, Manteo, NC 27954
4.5 miles north of Manteo off Hwy 64

Mandatory Bike Drop:
Friday, September 13, 3-7 p.m.
Airport Parking Lot (near Old Swimming Hole)
410 Airport Rd, Manteo, NC 27954
Park in the new airport lot behind transition area.

Changes in Race Day Participant Parking Location - PLEASE READ!

Night Before Your Race: Mandatory bike drop at transition area (Old Swimming Hole by the aquarium) runs 3-7 p.m. Please come to the transition area with bike and bike gear. Nutrition/hydration can be brought with you on race morning. You'll be shuttled to the start from athlete parking at Fort Raleigh on race day morning. 

Race Day Morning: Allow yourself some extra time by arriving a little earlier. You'll be parking at the finish at Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site in the Lost Colony parking lot.

PLEASE NOTE: Athletes will be shuttled over first. Spectators will be allowed to be shuttled after all athletes are gone to the start with and take a shuttle back to the finish during one of the scheduled shuttles running throughout the day. Spectators with their own vehicles must park at Fort Raleigh. There is no parking at the Old Swimming Hole. The Aquarium is opened that day as well as the SPCA and Airport. IF you park in those lots, you will be towed. So you must take the shuttle to Fort Raleigh start/finish. NO EXCEPTIONS!

***Last shuttle to swim start from Fort Raleigh is at 6:45 a.m.***

Hydration & Aid Stations

  • Run Course aid stations will be at (near) each mile marker
  • Water, Gatorade and Gu gels will be available
  • Olympic Bike Course water bottle hand-off at turn around
  • Bananas and pretzels will be available at the turn around

Port-O-Johns are located at the swim start, near all Run Course aid stations and at the Finish area.

We encourage you to be as self-supported as possible with the hydration you may need on the bike and a hand-held water vessel for the run.

Wet Suit Wave On Race Morning

On race morning the USAT official will sample the water temperature and determine if it is wetsuit legal. A water temp under 78° allows athletes to wear wetsuits and receive awards. If the temperature is 78° or higher a separate wave will be added for those who choose to wear a wetsuit. These participants will not be eligible for overall or age group awards. There will be a signup sheet for this wave located at the packet pickup tent. If a water temp of 84° or higher is taken, no wetsuits will be allowed.

Relay Team Instructions

  • Relay team members will check in individually to pick up their packet. Bring your ID and bib number.
  • Each relay member will receive a bib with the team umber on it. The runner is required to wear the bib.
  • Relay team timing tag will be picked up by the swimmer on the morning of their heat.
  • This timing chip will be shared/transferred between all team members. Team Members MUST transfer the Velcro strap and timing chip while inside the transition area. The strap and chip MUST be securely fastened around your ankle before exiting transition. Place chip on outside of ankle.
  • This chip will have the corresponding relay team bib number printed on it.
  • Chip MUST be returned to the OBSE volunteer in the finish chute.

Reminder: Relay “runner” must be at T1 at the Old Swimming Hole ready to meet their incoming biker. Allow plenty of time for arrival and know the predicted arrival time of your biker. Sprint athletes, you should arrive earlier due to short event.


Finish time is your bike-in time to transition. Return the timing chip to the volunteer at the Aquabike finish tent, then proceed to the finish area to collect your finisher's medal.

Finish Line Etiquette

At the finish line athletes should be aware of the other athletes finishing behind them. Please do not congregate in the chute. Move along and celebrate at the post-race party!

Post-Race Bike Pick-up

You must have your bib to pick up your bike after the race. NO EXCEPTIONS.


Awards will go to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall, as well as 1st place in each of the following age groups: Men and women 19 & under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75+.

Post-Race Food & Beer

Don't miss it! After you finish, head back to Fort Raleigh to celebrate your accomplishments with family, friends and other athletes.

Lost & Found

Lost and found, as well as family reunion, will be at the packet pick-up at Fort Raleigh.

Accommodations and Amenities

Whether you're coming in the week before, or hoping to stay the week after, it's important to rest up and find the perfect place to stay during your triathlon trip! Many of our homes have hot tubs, which will be amazing after the race, while others are smaller for an easy couples retreat or offer any day stays in case you just want to come in for a shorter amount of time. Take a look at some of our recommended amenities below and give us a call at (866) 884-0267 if you have any additional questions or want some local recommendations from our amazing Guest Services team prior to booking!

Any Day Stays  

Take advantage of Seaside Vacations' Any Day Stays Outer Banks rentals for 3 nights. These partial week rental properties allow stays with a minimum of 3 nights (in some cases 2 nights). You pick your check-in day. Call 1-800-395-2525 today for your Outer Banks short term rental. Perfect for those who need a short escape.


Rentals with a Hot Tub

Want to relax in a bubbly Hot Tub before and after the race? Check out our homes with hot tubs for the perfect soothing escape!

Smaller Homes (1-3 Bedrooms)

Coming by yourself, a partner, or a small family? Check out our smaller homes and condos that are ideal for price-conscious vacationing and having just the space you need. Many of our smaller beach cottages and condos offer the views and amenities you expect on vacation while being kind to your wallet and being better suited to your family size!

Larger Homes (5-10 Bedrooms)

Coming with your extended family? Looking for a luxurious stay with a game room, pool, or private beach access? We've got those, too! Take a look at some of our larger homes and find the perfect retreat for your whole cheering party!

Oceanfront Rentals

You're coming to the Outer Banks for the race, but let's be real: this is the Outer Banks! Check out our selection of oceanfront rentals and start race day with an unforgettable sunrise over the ocean! Relax in the evenings under the stars and get all the rest you need with the sound of the ocean in the background.


Book your stay today in one one of our cozy vacation rentals and exploring all the best and brightest that the Outer Banks has to offer. Give our wonderful Guest Services Team a call today at (866) 884-0267 or take a look at our available rentals to get started planning your next historic adventure to the Outer Banks.

And don't forget about our layaway plan, which makes booking your dream vacation easier than ever. So don't wait. We're booking Outer Banks vacation rentals year round and we're excited to help you create memories to last a lifetime. We're here to help make your OBX vacation fun, exciting, and hassle-free. Give us a call today! Be sure to provide accurate information and make any necessary payments. 


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Explore our website and give us a call to help kick-start your unforgettable Outer Banks vacation today.  Be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTubePinterest, and TikTok to stay up to date on all of our specials, new & featured homes, and tips & tricks for making the most of your next Outer Banks vacation.

We’ll see you at the beach.

About the Author: Lauren is an Outer Banks local, mom, trained historian, and travel enthusiast. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with her nose in a book or cuddling with her cats.