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Because Modern Pentathlon involves competing in five different sports, and may require travelling to regional, national, and international competitions, keeping your costs under control is an important concern. Here are some tips for minimizing the costs. It is possible to get started in the sport with a minimal investment.

Starting Equipment

Assuming you have everything you need for swimming and running, here is some equipment you should consider purchasing in order to start developing your skills in the other three sports of Modern Pentathlon–shooting, fencing, and equestrian.

Starting Shooting Equipment

At first, you do not need to buy your own laser pistol. For example, some members of Wolfpack Pentathlon Club own laser pistols and will let you borrow them for short periods of time for practicing. Additionally, extra laser pistols are typically available at competitions for use by competitors.

However, in order to have the best results in competitions, you should consider purchasing your own laser pistol. In this way, you will be assured of using the same laser pistol in competitions that you use in practice. Also, you can take responsibility for the accuracy of the laser pistol (e.g., through careful calibration, maintenance, and storage).

A list of shooting providers is available on the UIPM web site. See

Make sure the pistol you select is homologated for UIPM competitions.

Recommended: Ecoaims EO1201A PP320 Laser Pistol Set (see plus E01109A LT50 Laser Travel Target (see

Atlanta Laser Shot LLC is an authorized reseller of Ecoaims laser pistols. For more information, contact Keith Berryhill at or 404-932-7791. Tell Keith that Wolfpack Pentathlon Club sent you. He sells the recommended laser pistol set and travel target for about $800.

Starting Fencing Equipment

You also do not need to buy your own fencing gear at first. Instead, when you take your first lessons at a fencing center, you will be able to borrow the necessary equipment. For example, if you join Wolfpack Pentathlon Club for a lesson at Golden Gate Fencing Center (typically $40 per person), fencing gear will be provided to you.

However, you will eventually want to buy your own gear. One of the most important reasons for doing this is so that you can participate in open fencing at a fencing center of your choice. Open fencing typically costs around $25 per person for two hours of unlimited bouting, which is the best possible way to improve your skills! Also, the first Thursday of every month is FREE at Academy of Fencing Masters in Sunnyvale. As soon as you have your own equipment, you can start fencing with us there.

Most members of Wolfpack Pentathlon Club purchased a starter set of Absolute Fencing gear, including mask, underarm protector, jacket, glove, pants, epee, body cords, and bag, from Cole at Victory Fencing Gear in San Francisco. For more information, see Tell Cole that Wolfpack Pentathlon Club sent you. He sells the starter set for around $450.

You can reduce this cost by ordering a starter set directly from Absolute Fencing. For example, this deluxe electric 8-piece epee set, listed for $304.00, has everything you need:

For competitions, you will eventually need to have at least one backup epee. Although they are not of the greatest quality, you can purchase a national-grade epee for about $70 on

You will also need to buy fencing socks and shoes. Although there are some shoes that are designed specifically for fencing, any court shoes will do. Additionally, any thick, knee-length socks (e.g., soccer socks) will do.

Starting Equestrian Equipment

None! Unless you are coming from the equestrian world, it is recommended that you focus on Tetrathlon at first — running, swimming, shooting, and fencing. In fact, you can compete at all levels in the sport, including the World Championships, without ever getting on a horse. Therefore, you don’t have to commit any resources to the equestrian sport until you are ready!

If and when you do finally decide to jump into the sport of equestrian, you will likely need to purchase paddock boots, half chaps, riding pants, and a top-quality helmet. The cost for these things is likely to be around $400.

Advanced Equipment

After you are fully invested into the sport of Modern Pentathlon, you may want or need to start upgrading your equipment. For example, fencing at the international level (e.g., at the World Championships) may require FIE fencing gear, including mask, jacket, plastron, pants, glove, and epee. (The starting fencing equipment specified above is “350N” equipment, which is suitable for national-level competitions, but not international-level competitions.) Additionally, fencing at the international level requires your last name and country code to be embroidered onto the back of your jacket.

Advanced swimming gear to consider includes competition swimming suits, caps, and goggles, as well as training equipment, such as snorkel, fins, paddles, buoys, and so on.

Advanced running gear can include racing shoes, racing jerseys, racing shorts, compression socks, sunglasses, and so on.

Advanced shooting gear can include custom grips, special sights, and so on.

Advanced Budgeting

Here are some things to keep in mind when budgeting for the sport of Modern Pentathlon.

Costs related to the sport of Modern Pentathlon can be managed to almost any level that you are comfortable with and should not discourage you from participating.

You can ease into the sport with a minimal investment. In fact, you can compete up to the regional level in Northern California, such as at the annual Placer County Pentathlon (in January) and the annual Davis Pentathlon (in April), without buying any of your own equipment.

Training costs related to running, swimming, fencing, and shooting need not be much more than the costs of focusing exclusively on any individual sport. For example, a combination of private lessons and open fencing that is sufficient to lead to improvements is likely to cost around $200 per month. In contrast, an athlete who is exclusively focused on fencing would likely spend around $500 per month.

Access to a swimming pool for two non-coached workouts per week is likely to cost around $80 per month; in contrast, a swimmer who is focused exclusively on swimming would likely spend over $150 per month.

Registrations for running, swimming, fencing, modern pentathlon, and other related competitions are likely to cost around $100 per month. The registration costs need not be much more than registrations for an individual sport. For example, while a fencer might compete in two fencing tournaments per month, a Modern Pentathlete might compete in a swim meet and a road running race instead.

Replacement equipment (e.g., running shoes, swimming suits, swimming goggles, and so on) is likely to cost around $75 per month.

Therefore, a full, year-round commitment to four of the five sports of Modern Pentathlon is likely to require a budget of approximately $500 per month plus travel expenses.

Because there are few local events, participating in the sport will require some travelling. At the highest levels (e.g., World Championships, World Cup, and so on), you will likely need to budget for international travel. For example, the UIPM 2020 Pentathlon Masters World Championships will be held in Gyor, Hungary, on September 17-20 and the 2020 Biathle/Triathle World Championships will be held in Weiden, Germany on August 19-23.

Of course, these estimated costs can be reduced significantly by, for example, committing to the sport for just six or nine months out of the year and/or choosing to limit your national or international competitions to once every two or three years.

Integrating the equestrian sport into your budget may require significant planning. For example, according to the UIPM Riding Training Technical Guidelines, 80-100 hours of saddle time is an elementary requirement for any athlete in Modern Pentathlon. In the San Francisco Bay Area, each hour of saddle time costs approximately $80-120 per hour. That means a full commitment to the equestrian sport would translate to at least $533 per month.

The good news is you can save this last budgeting challenge until you are fully ready to commit to the sport!