Grand Theft Auto 5 Triathlon Guide

How to unlock the marathon races, tips on winning and their locations.

In Grand Theft Auto 5, you’ll spend much of your time running all over Los Santos. Might as well test your skills in the Triathlon. Once unlocked, you’ll be able to compete in tough races that’ll put your endurance (or lack thereof) on display. With this in mind, here are some tips to dominate the competition.

For more info, read Prima’s free GTA 5 guide.

Unlocking the Triathlon

With Mike, you must complete the “Daddy’s Little Girl” mission to unlock the first Triathlon race. This is usually triggered when you shift back to Mike from Franklin. You’ll watch a cutscene with a rather annoyed Mike and his son Jimmy playing a video game. It seems father and son need some bonding time! From there, you’ll go for a bike ride at the beach, attempt to win a race and swim to a boat to “save” Tracey (Mike’s daughter) from some porno dudes. No, we’re not kidding.

Triathlon Tips 

Track & Field 

Triathlons are a three-in-one marathon race that involves swimming, biking, and running. This is an endurance tester to see how well you can manage your character’s stamina while outpacing your opponents. Although each race consists of a different scenario, the same concept applies: Claim each checkpoint to advance to the finish line. Some basic tips below should get you ready:

-Each finish line (or transition) grants you extra stamina. 

-Don’t bother looking through the news’ camera-view; it’ll throw you off course (though it does look cool). 

-The game’s not lying when it says to tap the boost button to go faster; press it rapidly, but try to avoid blisters on the thumb.

-Boosting while your stamina gauge is empty will degenerate health.

-You cannot use special abilities in these races.

-Practice swimming, running, climbing and biking in your free time to gain attributes early on.   

-Of the three main characters, Franklin is the best fit for the Triathlon at the start.

-You can run into or knock down the other racers (at least on foot) with enough speed.

-Avoid getting stuck directly behind someone; you’re only giving them leverage.

-Checkpoints are not required to be triggered spot on; just be sure you’re close enough. 

-Obviously, brake at sharp turns unless you want to crash.  

-Beware of environmental objects, such as poles or benches when on land.

-Prevent yourself from maneuvering left or right when you don’t have to turn – going head-on gets you to the checkpoint faster.

-Practice makes perfect. Even if you don’t come in first, your attributes will increase. 

-Checkpoints are marked with blue arrows above them, but on your radar they’re yellow dots. Use the mini-map to anticipate a turn if you’re not sure.  

Unlimited Stamina

What happens if you max out your character’s stamina skills? Well, the good news is you’ll technically have infinite amount of stamina. The bad? It doesn’t necessarily make Triathlon races easier (at least not the third one). Your rival’s skills seem to increase greatly, as if they were on steroids or came from a mutated laboratory. This benefits you because you don’t have to worry about resting your muscles, but it will certainly test your finger-pressing talents.


The first set of the three races, swimming can drain your stamina quickly. The game suggests to gradually swim at a normal pace after your stamina bar is halfway-drained, but we recommend saving a tad more for the sprint to the bikes, right before the finish line. Once you reach the last checkpoints, slow down and regain your energy.  As long as you’re in fourth or fifth, you won’t fall too far behind. This is the least-important race you need to worry about.


The toughest of the three, you won’t drain too much endurance here, but because of its hard-to-handle mechanism, you can cause yourself to crash. Avoid cutting corners via the sidewalks or grass – it will only slow you down. Also, be aware of your surroundings; a simple pole could end your day. When you’re biking uphill, pedal fast. Going downhill gives you the opportunity to recover stamina while keeping you moving at a decent pace. For sharp turns, turn early to prevent wide ones. It’s quite difficult to knock someone off their bike here (it usually backfires), so don’t chance it.  


After all this, you have to run. This is where the pressure’s really on, but it’s certainly the safest of the three. Similar to the biking segment, if you’re going downward, take the time to regenerate any vitality and work those legs as you move up. Your opponents are the most vulnerable at this state of the race (usually, they’ll be slower from here), but it will take a lot of time to catch up if you’re behind.  Additionally, this is the best opportunity to bash other racers and disorient them. Some will stop and lose their breath for a moment, while others will try to pass you. Charge at them.  

Triathlon Races & Locations 

There are three Triathlon races in Grand Theft Auto 5. Below are their locations and how to unlock them. You’ll need to do well to open the other two, but usually placing second (at the last run, of course) grants access to them. Be sure to check your in-game map.

Triathlon 1: La Puerta 

-Location: Southeast part of Los Santos; near the airport.

-Difficulty: Moderate  

-How to Unlock: Complete the “Daddy’s Little Girl” mission with Mike.

Tips: Semi-short swim. Save your energy for the bike sprint. Have a 3/4 full endurance bar for the last hill.  

Triathlon 2: Grapeseed 

-Location: East side of Blaine County.

-Difficulty: Moderate 

-How to Unlock: Finish at least in second place from Triathlon #1.

Tips: A long swim with a lot of waves. Try to stay in sixth place at the swim; you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on your bike if needed. The run is mostly on flat ground, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. 

Triathlon 3: Sandy Shores

-Location: East side of Blaine County (near Trevor’s home).

-Difficulty: Brutal/Hard

-How to Unlock: Finish first or second in Triathlon #2.

Tips: Literally a 30-minute marathon, your palms will be sweating, your thumb will be numb and your hand will hurt at the finish line. This is the ultimate test for any athlete. Follow these tips.

The Swim: Nothing has changed (besides the longer stretch) from the previous swims, except sometimes opponents will dive underwater near the last two checkpoints (sometimes they do, other times they don’t). Racers seem to reach fatigue at this time, so it’s your time to shine here.

The Bike Ride: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Oh wait, this is Los Santos…never mind. Anyway, that’s a true statement for the bike ride. You’ve got crazy hills, long roads, narrow routes and insane turns here, so don’t risk crashing. Take your time and remember to turn early at sharp corners.

The Run: Once you make it to this jog, you should be home free. It won’t be difficult to stay in first (many racers will be worn out at the transition). If you are behind, you’ll have to push yourself up the hills. Keep in mind, though – there’s great deal of time to come back up front. Do not expend health too much unless necessary. If all else fails, you can always get physical. Whoever said you can’t shove your rivals?    

About the Author

Prima Games Staff

The staff at Prima Games.