The Future of Triathlon...



By Kelly O’Mara (triathlete.com)

This past weekend, more than 1,000 coaches, race directors, officials, athletes, and triathlon enthusiasts gathered virtually for the annual Endurance Exchange conference, hosted by USA Triathlon. While we’re all eager to return to the fun of in-person Happy Hours, the upside of the entirely virtual conference was that it was possible for there to be so many more speakers and educational resources than could fit in a conference hall—over 100 speakers and 80 hours of sessions that you can still go back and watch on-demand.

While we didn’t sit in on every session (!), there were some overall themes we were able to glean from what we did attend—trends and questions left to be answered this year and next....

A return to (local?) racing

If 2020 and 2021 was all about “safe return to racing,” then 2022 will be about local races, said USAT CEO Rocky Harris. “In 2020, we saw how important racing was to our triathlon ecosystem,” he said. Without races, there’s nothing to train for, nothing to buy gear for, to rally your friends for. Yes, you can still swim, bike, and run (and plenty of you did, of course!), but triathlons are what make up the heart and soul of being a triathlete. And the vast majority of those triathlons are small, local triathlons. And keep in mind: Only 10% of the races in the country are longer than Olympic-distance, so the vast majority are small, local, short triathlons.

This year, Harris said USAT will focus on getting resources to local race directors and promoting local races to athletes, including with their Find A Race calendar to get triathletes back out there doing triathlon in their communities. That includes a partnership coming with TriFind and the announcement of 50 state championships—a local championship in every state.  READ MORE