The following contains a summary of the UIPM rules and regulations for competition in each of the five disciplines of the Modern Pentathlon.  For a full overview of each event rules, please download the UIPM Competition Rules document via the link under the corresponding event below.

General Rules


When not explicitly stated otherwise, these rules relate to all age groups, which are youth, junior, senior and masters.  The age of a pentathlete is counted by subtraction of year of birth from the year of the competition (days and months are not taken into account).

A pentathlete may compete in the age group immediately higher than his/her age group.  With permission from the national body (MPA), a pentathlete may compete in any higher age group.

The age groups are as follows:

Age Group
8 & younger Under 9 (YF)
9-10 years Under 11 (YE)
11-12 years Under 13 (YD)
13-14 years Under 15 (YC)
15-16 years Under 17 (YB)
17-18 years Under 19 (YA)
19-21 years Juniors
22 & over Seniors
30-39 years Masters 30+
40-49 years Masters 40+
50-59 years Masters 50+
60-69 years Masters 60+
70 & over Masters 70+



The swimming event is typically in the form of a freestyle race.  This is because it is generally considered the fastest swim stroke style, however pentathletes may swim and change any stroke or style during the event.

The distance of the swimming event varies depending on the age category of the pentathlete, and whether the event is being swum during an individual or relay competition.  Refer to the table below to determine how far you have to swim depending on your age category:

Age Individual Relay
Under 9 (YF) 50m 2 x 25m
Under 11 (YE) 50m 2 x 25m
Under 13 (YD) 100m 2 x 50m
Under 15 (YC) 100m 2 x 50m
Under 17 (YB) 200m 2 x 100m
Under 19 (YA) 200m 2 x 100m
Junior (19-21 years) 200m 2 x 100m
Senior (22 and over) 200m 2 x 100m
Masters 30+ years 100m 2 x 50m
Masters 60+ years 50m 2 x 25m

The event may be conducted in either a 50m or 25m pool

All pentathletes swimwear must be in good condition and non-transparent.  There are additional rules on the type of swimsuit permitted in UIPM Category A and B Official Competitions.  No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device that may aid his/her speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition (eg. webbed gloves, flippers, fins, floaties etc).

Points Scoring System for the swim event is displayed in the table below.  The system is based on a “notional standard time” corresponding to 250 points for each distance, and points are added or subtracted from the athletes swim time in relation to this standard time.

Age Individual Relay 250 pts Each 0.33 sec
Seniors, juniors, U19 (YA), U17 (YB) 200m 2 x 100m 2:30.00 secs +/- 1 point
Masters 30+, U15 (YC), U13 (YD) 100m 2 x 50m 1:20.00 secs +/- 1 point
Masters 60+, U11 (YE), U9 (YF) 50m 2 x 25m 0:45.00 secs +/- 1 point



The fencing component of the modern pentathlon is held as a ‘one-touch bout’.  Fencers use the epee as the weapon of choice, where the whole body is a potential target to score a hit on.

In a one-hit bout, the winner is judged by scoring one decisive hit using an electronic scoring device.  In the event of a simultaneous double-hit, no athlete scores a point and the bout is resumed from the same time and position on the piste, until such time that a fencer scores one-hit.  The duration of the bout is 60 seconds, not including interruptions.  If time expires before a winning hit has been made, both athletes score a defeat.

In the scoring points system 250 points correspond to 70% of bouts being won by the athlete.  The point score value for each victory or defeat away from the 70% mark depends on how many bouts are conducted in the competition, and can be found in a table in the final rules document below.


Horse Riding

The horse riding component of the modern pentathlon involves a showjumping round on an unknown horse (pool horse).

The showjumping course is 350-400m in length, has 12 obstacles including double and triple combination elements (for a total of 15 jumps).  In a full pentathlon the height of the showjumps is set to a maximum 1.2m, where a minimum of 5 elements must be set to maximum height.  However since 1.2m is quite high for most riders, Modern Pentathlon Queensland routinely offers showjump courses at a variety of lower heights (such as 60cm, 80cm, and 1m), to encourage rider participation and grow confidence.

Riders are able to walk the course on foot, and then have 20 minutes to warm-up and 5 practice jumps with the horse they draw before attempting the course.

The maximum points scored in the riding event is 300 points for a clear round.  All penalty points for rail knockdowns, refusals, run-outs, falls, time penalties and other penalties are deducted from the maximum 300 points.  There are also several actions which result in elimination of the rider-horse combination, and these along with the full list of penalties and their point-value can be found in the final rules handbook below.

The riding clothing used must be in good and safe condition.  All pentathletes must wear protective helmets that conform to FEI and Australian standards while mounted.


Combined Event (Run and Shoot)

The combined event involves the running and shooting components of the modern pentathlon.  It is performed as a running race interspersed with series of pistol shooting at 10m distance from the target.  This is the exciting business end of the day and an action packed fast paced event with all competitors handicapped to start ranked by points accumulated in the previous 3 events.  The leading competitor starts first and all subsequent competitors are on a handicap time delay.  They first run into the shooting range, and shoot at the target.  As soon as the target has been hit 5 times (or 50 seconds elapse) the competitors then leave for a 800m cross country run. They then return and repeat this 3 more times with the final 800m being a race to the finish line and overall victory for the 5 events.  First past the post is the winner! It seems simple but is deceptively hard with the heart pounding and breathing hard (the opposite of what is required for accurate shooting) and many runners get passed by other competitors who are more successful at shooting quickly.  The lead can change quickly and many times much to the dismay and thrill of competitors!

The table below details the total running distance required for each age group:

Individual Relay
Age Distance Total Dist. Distance Total Dist.
YF (U9) 1 x 400m 400m 2 x 1 x 400m 800m
YE (U11) 1 x 400m 400m 2 x 1 x 400m 800m
YD (U13) 2 x 400m 400m 2 x 1 x 400m 800m
YC (U15) 2 x 800m 1600m 2 x 2 x 400m 1600m
YB (U17) 3 x 800m 2400m 2 x 2 x 800m 3200m
YA (U19) 4 x 800m 3200m 2 x 2 x 800m 3200m
Junior (19-21) 4 x 800m 3200m 2 x 2 x 800m 3200m
Senior (22 and over) 4 x 800m 3200m 2 x 2 x 800m 3200m
Masters (30+) 3 x 800m 2400m 2 x 2 x 800m 3200m
Masters (60+) 3 x 400m 1200m  –  –

The shoot portion of the combined event is run as a 10m pistol series where each athlete needs to hit the target 5 times within 50 seconds.  If 5 hits have not been made once the 50 seconds expires, the athlete places their pistol down on the range and begins running again without being penalised.  Modern Pentathlon Queensland uses UIPM-approved Laser Pistols (no live ammunition).


Many thanks to the UIPM Website, where all of the official rule documents found above originally came from.