I make no bones about it. I think running is a better sport than cycling and triathlon. I enjoy cycling, but I can live without it. I enjoy triathloning, but I don't get grouchy and depressed if I don't swim or bike. Poor weather affects me more on the bike than it does during a run--although, I don't like wind during either. It takes me twice as long to achieve the same physical benefits on a bike as it does on a run. And because running is a high impact activity, I don't face the risk of lower bone density that I might face if I only cycled.
But there is one reason that trumps all reasons for my liking running more than triathlon and cycling: In cycling, especially in the cycling portion of a triathlon, you can buy your way to a faster time. I completed the 2011 Antwerp Ironman 70.3 on a secondhand 2002 Giant TCR-1 that I bought for $500 US. If I had the money to buy a tri-bike with aero wheels and an aero helmet, I could have ridden about two and a half miles per hour faster (maybe more) than I did in that race, allowing me to finish over 20 minutes sooner than I did. To go faster on the bike, I didn't need to work harder or to train more. I just needed to buy more bike.
I don't recall ever being in a running race where I was beaten by someone who wasn't as fit as I was but who had better equipment than I did. But it may have happened to me on the bike in Antwerp.
Is a triathlon a test of fitness and work performed or is it about who can afford the best equipment? Should someone who is less fit than another person qualify for Kona over a more able athlete only because s/he had a mechanical advantage?
Unfortunately, I do not see how to even the playing field in this case. I don't think triathlon organizers should limit the type of bike they allow participants to use, and it's impossible to make sure all competitors have the bike they want. But racers with nice bikes need not believe they achieve their results on talent alone.
Runners, on the other hand, can rest assured that hard work and smart racing, two things available at no cost, will get us to the finish line in a position that best reflects our relative level of fitness.
Today's Run Details: Guerrilla Race by scarbellyracer at Garmin Connect - Details