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What's a Sherpa & Do I Need One in Triathlons?


Sherpa?? You have probably heard the term used in a few different Facebook groups and after googling for the definition you uncovered something like this: A member of a traditionally Buddhist people of Tibetan ancestry living on the southern side of the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim. In modern times Sherpas have achieved renown as high-altitude porters and expert guides on Himalayan mountaineering endurance expeditions. Well that was clear as mud. 😆

What is a Sherpa in Triathlons?

A Sherpa is a term used customarily by someone training for a long endurance event like an Ironman 140.6, Ironman 70.3, Marathon Cyclists and Mountain climbers. A Sherpa fills the need as a support person in terms of helping with gear, logistics, providing emotional support, sometimes financial support, day of medical emergency contact and overall helping the athlete or racer squarely focus on racing and/or resting when not.

Many friends, family and spouses usually agree to fulfill this role or some even offer because they have done an endurance event before and well aware of benefits of having a Sherpa's support.


Here is a group screenshot of some of the things Sherpas would be asked to help with at an Ironman 140.6 triathlon race.

Hope you have a better understanding of the simple yet IMPORTANT role a Sherpa plays for an endurance athlete or someone racing a demanding long distance race like an Ironman 140.6 triathlon or Marathon Cycling 24 hour event.