About British Pentathlon

Getting Started in 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!! The Modern Pentathlon Association arranges events for just two disciplines, run and swim (Biathlon and Biathle) 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.

If you can't find an answer to you query here, just pick up the phone or email us (details are on the contacts page) and someone will be able to help you get started.

Q. I can only run and swim ? can I compete in Modern Pentathlon competitions?

A. Many of our athletes and members come from a background of single sports or a combination of a number of sports; it is very rare that an athlete comes to pentathlon with competence in five sports.

The MPAGB competition calendar has many biathlon (running and swimming) and Biathle (run/swim/run continuously) competitions for all age groups and abilities.

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

A. 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 25.

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 win medals at the Olympic Games; with Danny Nightingale wining the Gold Medal in the Montreal Olympics and Steph Cook and Kate Allenby wining the gold and bronze medal respectively at the Sydney Olympics and Georgina Harland winning the Bronze Medal in the Athens Olympics.

We feel that if you are a Pony Club Tetrathlete you 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.

Q. What are the Age Groups for Modern Pentathlon?

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.

What the target times and scores are depends on your age group. The Pentathlon Events page has more information.

Q. How and where do I find out about competitions

A. A full list of training events and competitions can be found on the calendar page which has a full list of competitions, format and contacts.

Q. Do I have to be a member to compete?

A. To compete in competitions you will have to become a member of the MPAGB. Full costs can be found on the membership page and a Membership Application Form can be downloaded from here.

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?

A. The United Kingdom is split in to 3 Home Country Federations and 9 English Regions.

To find out your Home Country or Regional contact please click here.

Each Home Country /Region organizes a number of development training sessions where you can receive basic training under the supervision of qualified coaches. The calendar will inform you of any training taking place.

At these 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.

The shooting event takes place over 10 metres using a 4.5mm Air Pistol. These weapons can be purchased for as little as 100 second hand (please be aware of the legislation on carrying and using air weapons) up to 900 for a new one.

Some regions and clubs have weapons that they may be able to loan to you over a period of time.

The fencing discipline is a one hit epee competition where the athletes fight all other competitors in their age group for one hit, with the maximum time for each bout being one minute.

As in the shooting discipline, the Home Country Federations and English Regions hold regular training sessions for this discipline and may be able to loan out equipment to you.

The cost of the equipment again varies but new fencing equipment will cost in the region of 350 if new equipment is purchased. There is frequently second hand equipment available.

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.

To ride in Modern Pentathlon competitions you will be required to produce a riding competency certificate, the level is dependant on your age group and the competition that you are competing in. These can be downloaded from here.

Q. You haven't answered my question. Who can help me?

A. You can contact our HQ for further help and information or you can contact someone in the Country or English Region where you live. Their details can be found here.



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