Welcome to the 16th edition of the Kilifi Gold Triathlon, taking place on Saturday 22nd September 2018! We look forward to welcoming you to our event. Registration will open for competitors on July 15th 2018.

No need to register as a spectator but every need to come and join us at the Mnarani Club beach on Saturday 22nd September 2018 and soak up the Kilifi atmosphere. The beach will be open to all from 10am to 9pm. 

10am: Beach opens
10am - 1:30pm: Sign in, bike check, body marking, kit marking
2pm - Race Briefing (compulsory) and Warm Up
2:30pm: Race Start
6pm: Raffle and Event Prize-Giving
6:30pm: Sunset sounds and beach party
8pm: Event close

With a bar, restaurant, DJ, MC, and kids games throughout the day, the event is free to spectators and closes as the sun sets over the creek. We only ask that you come with your best cheering skills to give the competitors a much needed boost as they transition between the swim-bike-run legs. 

Race Rules
For the enjoyment and safety of all competitors and spectators at the KGT, please adhere to the race rules below.

  1. You must be over 12 years of age to participate in a team (one leg only), and over 16 to enter the full individual course. There is no upper age limit as long as you are fit enough!
  2. Individuals may not compete as part of a team. This is a new rule for 2018.
  3. Any swimming costumes/wetsuits permitted (and you must wear one). Swimming caps and goggles are not compulsory, but are recommended.
  4. Footwear is not compulsory but highly recommended for bike and run.
  5. BIKE HELMETS ARE COMPULSORY. No exceptions, you will not be able to compete the bike leg without a helmet.
  6. Your bike must have working brakes.
  7. It is absolutely prohibited to cycle down Cardiac Hill. Any downhill cycling will result in automatic disqualification.
  8. If your number is not visible to marshals you will not be timed and may be disqualified.

The course
The Kilifi Gold Triathlon is a sprint distance triathlon suitable for beginners with a sense of adventure, through to pro-triathletes. The 750m swim is open-water in the glistening Kilifi Creek, lined with mangrove forest on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. The off-road 20km bike and 5km run legs weave through the expansive Kilifi Plantations, where rows of sisal plants surround ancient baobabs, and the paths twist and turn through shady valleys and open meadows. The event takes place in the afternoon to allow for Kenya's coastal temperature to cool as the race progresses, coming across the finish line to an equatorial sunset and a Kilifi sundowner. It's probably the most beautiful triathlon in Africa.

See below for the route, the map and some tips for the big day including information on bike rental. REGISTRATION OPENS JUNE 15TH 2017.

The Route

Swimmers – 750m

  • The course starts on Mnarani Club beach. 
  • Swim starts will be staggered into waves based on swimmers' speeds. The fastest wave will not necessarily enter the water first.
  • On the starter’s orders, run into the creek, swim out to a buoy and turn left, around the outside of the buoy.
  • Follow the buoys and lane marked out.
  • Swim around the final buoy and make your way back to the beach starting point.
  • Exit the creek and run to the top of the beach to tap in your cyclist, or make your transition.

Cyclists – 20km approx.

  • Your cycle leg starts once you pass the checkpoint after your swim, or when your swimmer taps you in at transition.
  • Your bike will be stored in the boat shed on the beach.
  • Run into the boat shed, collect your bike and run out the other end - this route is one way to avoid congestion.
  • Walk (or cycle if you can!) your bike up Cardiac Hill. This is 40m of serious incline.
  • Turn left onto the mercifully flat field at the top of the hill.
  • Cycle across the field and through the fence.
  • Follow the path into the forest until you reach the hotel wall.
  • Go through the hole in the wall and turn right onto Wilcox Driveway.
  • At the end of the driveway, turn left and follow the cycle route signposts for 20km.
  • The route is mostly flat, with one section called The Hidden Valley which is a short series of hills and slopes.
  • Come back through the hotel and WALK YOUR BIKE back down Cardiac Hill to the beach to tap in your runner, or make your transition. Cycling down results in immediate disqualification. Wait for a gap in the competitors, and return your bike to the boat shed.

Runners – 5km

  • Your run starts once you pass the checkpoint after your cycle, or when your cyclist reaches the transition and taps you in.
  • Walk (or run if you can!) up Cardiac Hill. This is 40m of serious incline.
  • Turn left onto the mercifully flat field at the top of the hill.
  • Run across the field and through the fence.
  • Follow the path into the forest until you reach the hotel wall.
  • Go through the hole in the wall and turn right onto Wilcox Driveway.
  • At the end of the driveway, turn left and follow the run route signposts for 4km.
  • Come back through the hotel and back down Cardiac Hill, run onto the beach, through the finish line, and celebrate by running into the sea/into someone’s arms*/the bar/the sand face first.

*Preferably someone you know but KGT supporters are a friendly bunch!



Lots of tips to help you make the most of your race and stay sunburn free!

Clothing and Equipment

Swim: standard swimming costumes are fine, but if you are prone to sunburn it’s very easy to not notice the sun strength whilst in water. Some people wear rash vests (available from 3 Degrees South if ordered in advance) to cover up. A wetsuit is not necessary for temperature as the water is warm, but some people wear them as protection. Apply waterproof suncream liberally at least 30 minutes in advance to allow it to sink in. The creek is saltwater so we recommend goggles and a swimming cap for long hair, although neither is compulsory. You do not need reef shoes or gloves, but as per wetsuit, some people wear them.

Bike: HELMETS ARE COMPULSORY. No exceptions, you will not be able to compete without a helmet. The terrain (see section below) is off-road so you will need a bicycle suitable for rocky, stony, potentially muddy, changeable surfaces and we recommend closed toe shoes, ideally cycling shoes. We have a limited number of off-road bikes available to rent. Consider carrying a small puncture kit of inner tube patches and bike levers - some people also carry spare tubes but most don't. We aim to have a fundi (repairman) along the route carrying basic supplies but we cannot guarantee he will reach you. For clothing, normal bike gear is fine, but it gets hot and most of the route is unshaded, so consider high SPF factor suncream, a cap with visor and neck guard, and covered shoulders.

Run: normal run gear is fine, with shoes suitable for off-road terrain. The terrain is the same as the bike, so as above if you burn in the sun.

no thermals needed

no thermals needed

Swim: 750m swim in open saltwater in the Kilifi Creek. We choose the event date and start time specifically so that the tide will be slack in relatively flat water, making it easier to swim with minimal tidal movement. However, swimming in open water in a group is always more challenging than in a calm swimming pool with sides and ropes to hold on to. We strongly advise you do not enter the swim leg if you have not swum in open water before and are not a confident swimmer. Our water safety team have in the past had to assist struggling swimmers who really should not have attempted the swim, putting themselves and fellow competitors at risk. Please don't be that swimmer. We have a dedicated KGT swimmer (called Queenie the Dancing Cow) who can complete the swim leg on your behalf should you wish to complete the bike and run legs. Just choose this option during registration.

Kilifi Creek has some sea urchins and small jellyfish. We endeavour to clear any urchins that may stray near the shore before the race, but it is rare you'll encounter any. Jellyfish are, understandably, beyond our control. Rash vests provide some protection and are available for purchase from 3 Degrees South if ordered in advance.

OFFroad terrain

OFFroad terrain

Bike: a maximum 20km off-road cycle through the Kilifi Plantations. The road is mainly either graded marrum or grassy offroad track, meaning it's bumpy, with gravel, rocks and Kenyan potholes throughout. There is one short, challenging, hilly section on the route with a small series of descents and ascents we call The Hidden Valley. You may need to push your bike on small sections here.

Run: the run is a 5km “adventure” leg through the plantations and back to the Mnarani Club Hotel. Like the cycle leg, this is off-road running on sometimes bumpy and undulating track. Along the run leg there could be a few light obstacles, for example fallen trees to jump over. These obstacles change each year (Mother Nature plans the paths however she likes) and will be a surprise to all on the day! We recommend trail running shoes that offer good ankle support.

CARDiac HILL - going down is easy

CARDiac HILL - going down is easy

“Cardiac Hill”

Coming in and out of transition, you’ll go up/down the infamous Cardiac Hill slope, and if you’ve never done it before you’ll soon realise why it’s called that. Cardiac Hill is a very short, but very steep curved hill leading to the beach. The serious incline lasts about 40m. Because of the steep gradient and the blind curve, it is absolutely prohibited to cycle DOWN Cardiac Hill. Any downhill cycling will result in an automatic disqualification. We have and we will disqualify you, no exceptions. You must dismount your bike completely, and walk down with both feet off the pedals. You are more than welcome to try to cycle UP, but unless you’re three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome you’ll probably want to walk the bike up too. There will be marshals on the 40m stretch, as well as at the top and bottom of the hill to ensure cyclists dismount going down, for everyone’s safety. We appreciate your co-operation in this.

Transition and timekeeping
Transitions are not separately timed. Your swim leg is timed from the start whilstle until the top of the beach as you cross the checkpoint. Your cycle leg time then begins immediately and therefore your cycle leg time includes your transition from the swim. Your cycle leg time ends at the bottom of Cardiac Hill as you cross the checkpoint. Your run leg then begins immediately, and therefore your run time includes your transition from the cycle. If you are very keen to know your transition times we suggest using a Garmin or other timing device as we are unable to provide these times for you. Please note, if your race number is not visible through the checkpoints, we will be unable to provide your time for you. If you are asked by a marshal for your race number, please shout it at them!

see our body marking team at sign-in

see our body marking team at sign-in

Body and equipment marking
At the sign-in desk on race day you will be given your race pack containing your sticky-backed race number. Trained KGT volunteers will be on hand to correctly place your numbers on your clothing and your bike. They will also paint your number on your upper arms and shins so please don’t apply any suncream or lotions before you’ve been marked. If you foresee an issue with being body marked, please email info@kilifigoldtriathlon.org so we can arrange alternative marking.

Before you start the race, you and your kit will be checked to ensure the timekeepers can clearly see your race number. You will not be allowed to race if you are not correctly marked up, so please arrive in good time for this check to be carried out.

Why do we body mark if we also attach race numbers?
Kilifi is on the equator and therefore rather warm, and many people remove items of clothing along the route to cool down. While we encourage our competitors to stay cool, removing clothing that has a race number pinned to it unfortunately makes it very hard for our timekeepers to do their job! A race number clearly painted on the arms and shins keeps our timekeepers happy at the checkpoints and means you’ll get your race time promptly. Our body markers are trained to do this; please don't mark yourself.

hydration, hydration, hydration

hydration, hydration, hydration

Climate and hydration
Kilifi is on the Kenyan coast, 3 degrees south of the equator, meaning we are blessed with year round sunshine... meaning it is darn hot out there. The KGT is timed so that it becomes cooler as the race progresses: you will be in water at the hottest time and running at the coolest part of the day in late afternoon. Even so, the equatorial sun shines brightly and much of the route is without shade. Ensure you are well hydrated before, during and after the race, and appropriately dressed. There will be water stations at the transition area and at the end, but we recommend you carry your own water and hydration drinks or gels. As soon as you finish your race, be sure to grab a bottle of water and some ORS from the marshals!

First Aid
Volunteer trained first aiders will be available at the hotel and out on the water, and an ambulance and medical staff from Kilifi County Hospital will be stationed within the hotel that day. However, please be aware the race is unsupported for the majority of the course, and on offroad rural terrain once you are out of the hotel grounds. At the end of the race we do a headcount to ensure all competitors have come back to the hotel and we have a vehicle drive the course to check the route, but there will be no medical support along the route. There will be a handful of signposting marshals at certain turns, but these marshals are not first aiders and are only there to direct you. Ensure you are fit enough to complete the course to avoid accident or injury to yourself or your fellow competitors. If you need to drop out of the race, please endeavour to let the marshals or race organisers know in some way so we can ensure you are OK and receiving assistance, and that we're not still looking for you at the end of the race. 

We cannot accept responsibility for items lost or stolen during the triathlon, however we will of course make every effort to ensure bikes and clothing left in the transition area are kept secure. The bike shed is next to the race office and there will be considerable hotel and KGT staff around, including marshals responsible for watching over the area. We advise you do not leave any valuables of any kind unattended, but we regret we don’t have room in the race office to accommodate personal items. If you are bringing a bike for the KGT, you will be issued with a ticket to retain and a corresponding ticket to attach to your bike. You will not be allowed to leave the hotel grounds with any bicycle for which you do not hold a ticket.

Have a question about the race not covered here? Don't hesitate to get in touch at info@kilifigoldtriathlon.org