Race belts are a common piece of triathlon gear that you see being used by almost every competitor at our triathlon events. But for somebody new to the triathlon sport, this can beg the question, what are race belts actually for?
Race belts are primarily used to hold your race number, allowing it to be visible at all times and making identification of athletes much faster for event staff. In the past athletes have tried many methods of fixing their race number to themselves, namely safety pins, but this can be a risky move; if the pin is knocked open during the race (this can happen more easily than you may think) the exposed point can cause damage to yourself or your clothing, which definitely isn’t ideal when you’re trying to beat you personal record. Race belts are an all-round solution to this problem, and sometimes more. Every race belt by design will be able to hold your race number as it is their primary function, and unlike safety pins, no amount of shaking, jumping, or running is going to cause the belt to bring you harm or injury. Using safety pins to attach your race number also means you will be unable to switch your number from the front to the back if necessary without having to stop and and fiddle around for five minutes.
What should I look for when buying a race belt?
If you only need a belt to hold your race number, then you don’t need anything fancy. Any basic race belt will do just fine and won’t cost you a fortune either (For the best price on a standard race belt, see our own Sportiva Events belts here :Sportiva Events : (clubtrac.co.uk) ). But if you are looking to spend a bit more on your belt, here are a few potential features to look our for before making a purchase:
Gear storage – Many race belts come with built in pouches for storing your race gear on the move (things like energy gels or bars are always handy). Ideally you want this storage space to be sealable with a zipper or something similar, and if you REALLY want to make sure your stuff is safe, you can easily find water proof/resistant race belts, these can be a little pricey though.
Hydration – Hydration belts allow athletes to carry water with them while they run, using built in water pouches (sometimes a number of small pouches around the hips, and sometimes one large tank at the rear of the belt). If used in combination with a long flexible drinking straw, this can completely eliminate the need for a water bottle, so definitely something to watch for if you are looking to spend a little more.
Adjustability – Having an adjustable race belt can be extremely handy. During training for events you may lose or put on weight, and the last thing you want on race day is to find out that your race belt no longer fits you, so getting an adjustable race belt (or even one with decent stretchability) can be crucial. Thankfully, our Sportiva branded race belts are all adjustable as standard.
Clearly, having a good quality race belt is crucial to the triathlon sport (unless you want hundreds of tiny pin holes in your tri-suit), so, how much should you be spending on your race belt?
Race belts can range in price and quality, but a good quality belt without any bells and whistles should set you back between £10 and £20, and if you’re looking for some extra features then we are talking around the £30 mark . For the best value for money, we would recommend our Sportiva race belts to any beginners, which we sell for £7. You won’t find a good quality race belt for cheaper anywhere else! These belts can be purchased through our online shop (Here: Sportiva Events : (clubtrac.co.uk) ) or at any of our triathlon events.