New to Modern Pentathlon

Getting started in Modern Pentathlon can seem a bit daunting, after all, I have got to be able to compete at five events to be able to take part, right? Absolutely not!!  Pentathlon Ireland hosts events for just two disciplines, run and swim (Biathlon) through to competitions involving all five disciplines which make up the Modern Pentathlon.  This section, by way of some Questions and Answers tries to deal with some of the most frequent questions we are asked.

Q. I already compete in the Pony Club Tetrathlon – what is the difference between this and Modern Pentathlon?

A. Pony Club Tetrathletes could benefit through competing more frequently and also by having an opportunity to continue to compete in multi sport after finishing with your Pony Club Tetrathlon career, and who knows, you could compete at the Olympic Games.

Pony Club Tetrathlon consists of running, swimming, shooting and cross country riding. The running and swimming distances are different, shooting is done on a different target with a different shooting points system and the riding is cross country using the athletes own horse.

Probably the most essential differences are that:

  • The Pony Club Tetrathlon is not an Olympic Sport and
  • The Pony Club does not allow athletes to compete beyond the age of 21.

On first sight it would appear that both competition formats are completely different, however, athletes have successfully competed in both and gone on to compete and at the Olympic Games; our very own Olympians Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe first competed in Pony Club Tetathlon.

Q. What are the Age Groups for Modern Pentathlon?

The official age groups for Modern Pentathlon are shown in the table below. Some local competitions will allow under 10s (Minis) to compete but this is at the discretion of the organiser.

Ages (as at 31st December) Age Group
10yrs Youth E
11/12yrs Youth D
13/14yrs Youth C
15/16yrs Youth B
17/18yrs Youth A
19-21yrs Junior
22-35yrs Senior
36 yrs+ Masters

Q. What distances and times do I have to compete at?

Modern Pentathlon is based on a system of scoring pentathlon points depending on the score or time that you record in each discipline. For each discipline there is a target time or score which is equivalent to 1000 pentathlon points.  If you do better (or worse) that that target score you accumulate more (or fewer) pentathlon points.

The target times and scores depend on your age group/competition.

Q. How and where do I find out about competitions

A. A full list of training events and competitions can be found on the competitions tab

Q. I can run and swim and am keen to shoot and fence, what equipment is used? is it expensive? and where can I get it from?

At taster and development training sessions you should be able to borrow equipment in order to allow you to participate, there may be a small charge to cover maintenance and replacement.

Although laser shooting is now used at top level competitions, competitiors new to the sport will still learn to shoot using air pistols.

Prices vary depending on what equipment you purchase, Pentathlon Ireland advises that you do not purchase any equipment until you have trained with us a number of times.

Q. Do I need my own horse?

A. Some Modern Pentathletes do own their own horse, however, it is not a necessity as in Modern Pentathlon competitions athletes use horses supplied by the competition organisers.

Q. I need further help?

A. You can contact us for further help and information