Teacher's notes on the reading passage: 'Triathlon: The unholy trinity'

These notes for teachers are for use with the reading passage entitled 'Triathlon: The unholy trinity' with student exercises and questions.

Completing sentences using words from list given.

  1. My friend was suffering from cardiovascular problems after completing the race and he was rushed to hospital.
  2. There is a short stretch of road near us which is notorious for bad accidents and six people have died there.
  3. He was fit and well trained and he was very eager for the match to start.
  4. Having finally passed his final set of exams after so much work, he felt a tremendous sense of elation.
  5. We had several applicants for the job and so we looked at a profile of each of them.
  6. A triathlon is a race of endurance because it involves three different sports and takes a long time to complete.
  7. Many runners, long-jumpers and triple-jumpers suffer knee problems because of the tremendous stress that they put on their knees.
  8. She worked extremely hard and felt very weary by the end of the week.
  9. The British driver Lewis Hamilton made his debut in Formula 1 racing in 2007.
  10. Climbing a steep rock wall, or starting on a PHD course, can both be very daunting for most people, and they don't want to do it.

Scan the text and find the importance of these words and expressions in the text.

  1. 11,00 entries - the number of entries for the London triathlon
  2. Sydney Games - the games where the triathlon started to become popular
  3. Simon Whitfield - an amateur triathlete
  4. non weight-bearing - sports like swimming and cycling
  5. Starfish Consulting - they did a profile of triathletes
  6. Perranporth Triathlon - a tough UK triathlon

Read the passage silently

Answer the questions

Suggested answers:

  1. Define stoked - extremely/absolutely exhausted;
  2. What's the difference between a sprint and a super-sprint triathlon? The super-sprint triathlon is the shortest triathlon of all.
  3. If 11,000 people signed up for the London triathlon last year, how many might we expect next year? There has been a 10% increase each year so we could expect about 12,100 entries.
  4. What was it that significantly increased interest in the triathlon? The Sydney Olympics.
  5. What is one of the reasons why triathlons are so popular? People who are not experts at one sport can still do well.
  6. In health terms, why is the triathlon a good sport? The athletes are very fit. Also, swimming and cycling are non-weight-bearing sports and so easier on knees.
  7. In your own words, what sort of people typically take part in triathlons? Young men and women under 40 who have been to university, and who earn an above-average salary.
  8. What makes the Perranporth triathlon a tough race? The rough seas, the hills and the sandy path.

Explain the meaning of these expressions.

  • mass appeal (Para 4) - a wide range of people are interested / enjoy doing this
  • captured the public imagination (Para 4) - made people extremely interested
  • multi-disciplinary nature (Para 5) - it has different sports in this case
  • muscle tome (Para 6) - the quality of muscles
  • a rapid awakening (Para 8) - a quick lesson / the person learns quickly
  • not break the bank (Para 9) - not cost too much
  • disposable income (Para 9) - the income people have to spend after tax etc has been paid
  • brand aware (Para 9) - familiar with the different brands of goods
  • doubted my friend's intentions (Para 10) - in this case, he was not sure about why she wanted him to take part; was there a reason he didn't know about?
  • hilly terrain (Para 10) - hilly land

Find words in the text that fit in the following categories.

Words used to describe the triathlon

  • torture
  • endurance
  • daunting
  • excellent cardiovascular workout
  • notorious
  • hardest
  • strength-sapping

Words used to describe how triathletes feel

  • elation (noun) / elated (adjective)
  • exhausted
  • collapsed
  • weary
  • exhausted joy
  • stoked

The writer uses various adjectives to paint a clear picture of what is in his mind. What adjectives could you use to describe how you might feel?

  • at the end of a triathlon - tired, exhausted, worn out, done in, dog tired, drained, weary
  • after falling in love - cheerful, elated, over-the-moon, overjoyed, thrilled, delighted, ecstatic


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