December 15, 2017

Where is Triathlon Headed?

Future of TriathlonWhen I started my triathlon journey in 1983 the sport was still quite young. Few people had heard of the sport and fewer participated in it.

These days everyone knows what a triathlon is and millions have participated at least once. The growth of the sport is amazing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Being an “old timer” I miss some of elements of the old days. Back then it was more about finishing the race than racing the race. The bikes were simple (and cheap) and Spandex wasn’t used yet. You still see a few people out there racing “old school” style, but not many.

Like anything . . . cars or electronics, for example, things get better with each new generation. Remember the old “brick” cellular telephones? Triathlon is like that. It has certainly gotten better in recent years in some respects, such as the equipment we use. In others, not so much.

Today, there are more races in more places than ever before. For example, the WTC added another new full Ironman race next year in Texas. This is a good thing.

Another change is the ever-spiraling cost of race entry. The Texas Ironman will be $600! That’s the highest cost of a North American Ironman ever, and there’s no end in sight.

I’ve also noticed that many of the race directors seem to be more concerned about profits than the race experience. The shirts are a little cheaper, the finish line tables are a little more meager and the race support isn’t quite as good.

For those new to the sport they don’t know any better. However, for those of us that have been in it a while we don’t necessarily like what we see.

With the economy in the state that it is we, as athletes, can, and must, be more selective of the races we do. Only by entering the best races can we send a clear message to the race directors that they really must deliver a better race experience because we’re in the driver’s seat now.

This is an interesting topic of conversation that we discuss lately. We would love to hear your comments too!

Ron Saetermoe

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