Triathlon Continues To Grow

We have all heard or read about the increase in popularity of triathlon.  Data ranging from the a growth of 14.2% from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009.  Or how about these stats from USA Triathlon:

Recent reports from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, coupled with the continued rise of USA Triathlon’s annual membership total, demonstrate the sustained growth of multisport – specifically triathlon – within the United States.

According to the SGMA, there were 1.2 million on-road triathlon participants in the United States in 2009, and another 666,000 Americans participated in an off-road triathlon last year. The 1.2 million on-road triathletes represent a growth of 11.1 percent over the last year and a 51.4 percent growth since 2007, according to the SGMA.

The 666,000 off-road triathletes in 2009 marked a 10.6 percent improvement over the last year and a 37.9 percent growth since 2007.

Additionally, USA Triathlon’s annual membership total reached an all-time high of nearly 133,000 on March 31. This figure, which was a 4.8 percent improvement over March 2009, included nearly 31,000 youth members – a 24.8 percent growth over this same time a year ago.

“The continued growth of the multisport lifestyle across all disciplines and distances is a strong reflection of this country’s desire to focus on healthy living,” said USA Triathlon CEO Skip Gilbert. “Incorporating not one but a multitude of sports into an individual’s training and competition schedule has simply exploded in popularity, and we at USA Triathlon are proud to be able to support these individuals’ passions.”

USAT’s recent annual membership total demonstrates the organization’s continued growth, specifically over the past decade. USAT had 21,341 annual members in 2000 and totaled 58,073 annual members in 2005. The current total of nearly 133,000 annual members represents approximately 523 percent growth since 2000 and 129 percent growth since 2005.

According to the SGMA, there are 694,000 core on-road triathlon participants in the United States and another 413,000 core off-road triathlon participants. The SGMA defined core participants as athletes that competed in at least two races per year.

[caption id="attachment_4467" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Rev3 Triathlon Series"]Revolution3_Triathlon_Series[/caption]

It doesn't end there as a couple of announcements over the past few months proves.  First there was Revolution3 announcing that they launched a new race in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  The newest site will have both Olympic and Half-Ironman races on August 26th.  Direct from the press release is this description of OOB365: Old Orchard Beach is a beautiful 7-mile strip of sandy beach that has operated for more than 170 years.  The beach welcomes families and tourists alike, encouraging them to take advantage of weekly fireworks and concerts, fishing, whale watch tours, top-notch golf and more.  The crown jewel of Old Orchard Beach is it’s pier, which stretches out nearly 500 feet over the Atlantic Ocean.  The Pier is home to restaurants, shops, games and nightlife.  Families are also encouraged to visit Palace Playland Park, New England’s only beachfront amusement park.   “Old Orchard Beach is a great addition to our race roster.  It’s a beautiful area with a lot of history and OOB365 has been a great partner in helping us to realize the full potential of the location,” says Charlie Patten, president of Rev3.

If you thought that they would stop there you would be wrong.  4 days ago another event was announced by Rev3 and this one takes place the weekend of October 27, 2012 in Sarasota,Florida.  The distance is going to be a Half-Ironman.  From their press release is the following: “We’ve wanted to bring a race to Florida, and Sarasota is the perfect location,” said Charlie Patten, President of Rev3. “Sarasota is a beautiful area and offers numerous activities for families to enjoy and a unique and challenging course for our athletes.”

My only issue is they could have chosen a better picture to start the video with.  Does this start make you want to click and/or race this event?

[caption id="attachment_4466" align="alignright" width="184" caption="HITS Triathlon Series"]hits_triathlon_multisport_series[/caption] Not to be outdone HITS Triathlon Series just announced the first Iron-Distance race in Colorado.  The new race will take place the weekend of July 28-29 in Fort Collins, CO.  This series of events will replace the series that was to take place on the same weekend in Galena, IL. In case you don't know what HITS is it is a national race series that will feature races at all 5 distances for an entire weekend.  Confused as to the 5 distances, please allow me to clear it up for you.  They will have the normal Sprint, Olympic, Half-Ironman and Ironman distances but also will include what they call the Open Distance.  This distance covers the following:  swim 100m, Bike 3 miles, Run 1 mile.  Cost for this new distance:  $0.  That's right this distance will be free to enter and it will provide a great backdrop for people to get involved with what I believe to be the greatest sport in the world. The HITS Triathlon Series intrigues me because they have 11 events throughout 2012 scheduled that will culminate with a National Championship on December 2,  2012 in Palm Springs, CA.  Not only will they have a National Championship but your competition is those in your age.....not age group.  On 12/31/2012 I will be triathlete age 39 so I will be competing only with those that are 39. I just got into the sport but I love it.  I love the passion of the participants.  I love seeing the volunteers and their smiles.  Triathlon is more than a sport, its a way of life.

Have You Heard Of HITS?

Where Do You Think A Triathlon Should Be Raced?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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