TEMPE, Ariz. — USA Triathlon and IRONMAN today announced Time to TriTM, an unprecedented industry-wide initiative to grow the sport of triathlon in the United States by supporting and inspiring beginners to complete their first race. With the end of 2020 as a goal of introducing 100,000 new participants to the sport, Time to Tri provides training and racing advice, motivational tools and other resources at its online hub, mytimetotri.com.
The initiative, a strategic joint effort founded by both parties, was unveiled this afternoon at the Triathlon Business International Conference in Tempe, Arizona, in a presentation led by USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris and IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick.
“Since coming onboard as USA Triathlon CEO, my focus has been to increase collaboration across the industry and work together on a shared goal of growing participation in triathlon,” Harris said. “Time to Tri is a critical step in that process, and we are proud to partner with IRONMAN in getting this effort off the ground. But, more importantly, this is an industry-wide initiative, and we will need the support of everyone across all of the sport’s constituency groups to be successful.”
“As an industry leader, we are proud to join forces with USA Triathlon to spearhead the development of Time to Tri,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO for IRONMAN. “While a lot of effort has gone into this for the past few months, the truth is that we are really just beginning. The power, control and responsibility of this initiative lies with the entire industry and is truly something that should lead to the benefit of all, from athletes, to coaches, clubs, race directors and industry endemics. We all have a common interest in bringing new people into our sport.”
By announcing the initiative at the TBI Conference, USA Triathlon and IRONMAN reached three key groups of industry stakeholders — coaches/clubs, race directors and retailers/brand manufacturers — with a call-to-action to sign a public pledge at mytimetotri.com/pledge and make this an initiative powered by the entire industry.
After signing the pledge, which asks stakeholders to spread the word about Time to Tri with their audiences via email and social media, signees will receive a “playbook” and a collection of branded digital assets to use in promoting the initiative. One of four playbooks will be distributed based on the signee’s affiliation as a race director, coach, club or brand, but each playbook includes sample messaging and strategic ideas for recruiting beginners to triathlon. In a public rollout on Monday, February 5, USA Triathlon and IRONMAN will also equip their respective members and athlete databases with the tools to get involved.
The content at mytimetotri.com is inspired by qualitative and quantitative research that addresses key barriers to entry, such as swimming ability and open water swimming experience, triathlon knowledge and the perception of a financial barrier.
The site will also offer editorial content as well as free, customized sprint-distance training plans to athletes who sign up with their email address. Each plan’s workouts are developed by USA Triathlon Certified and IRONMAN U® Certified Coaches and are based on the athlete’s self-selected skill level in the swim, bike and run.
In addition to launching the digital platform at mytimetotri.com, USA Triathlon and IRONMAN will engage in proactive outreach to identify new and aspiring triathletes. The running community is a primary target audience, and Time to Tri will have a presence at running race expos across the country in order to reach those athletes.
Time to Tri will also promote pool and indoor triathlons as a non-intimidating first triathlon experience — directly addressing the fear of open water swimming as a barrier to entry — as well as short-course (sprint- and Olympic-distance) racing, relays and beginner waves.
Building on the success of IRONMAN’s Women For Tri® initiative, Time to Tri will join forces with Women For Tri to increase the percentage of women triathletes (currently, that number is 39 percent) by driving the creation of women’s-only events and clinics while further supporting the Women For Tri online community.
Other outreach opportunities include partnering with the USA Triathlon Youth Splash & Dash Aquathlon Series, youth triathlon clubs and summer camps to recruit more young people to the sport; reaching new audiences on social media during the second annual National Triathlon Week from July 16-22; and enlisting the help of 44 of the nation’s top amateur triathletes through the USA Triathlon Ambassador Program.
To learn more about Time to Tri, and to sign a pledge to help grow the sport of triathlon in your community, visit mytimetotri.com. For a list of sanctioned triathlon events taking place in 2018, visit usatriathlon.org.
What industry leaders are saying about Time to Tri:
Rick Adams | Chief of Paralympic Sport and NGB Organizational Development, U.S. Olympic Committee
“Grassroots participation in sport is what drives the Olympic and Paralympic Movements. We are thrilled to see USA Triathlon taking a proactive role in growing the sport’s amateur base, while demonstrating the collaborative spirit that defines the Team USA family.”
Bob Babbitt | CEO, Babbitt Media Group | Co-Founder, Challenged Athletes Foundation
“As someone who has been living and breathing the sport of triathlon since 1978, I am ecstatic that IRONMAN and USA Triathlon, two of our industry leaders, are launching ‘Time to Tri’ in order to help grow the world’s greatest sport. The sport of triathlon changes lives for the better, and having the largest brands in our sport joining together to invest in our growth is a huge step forward. As you can tell, I couldn’t be more excited!”
Paula Newby-Fraser | Eight-Time IRONMAN® World Champion, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Member
“Triathlon is not just a sport — it is a lifestyle that empowers and challenges each of us uniquely and meaningfully. To make this welcoming and accessible to everyone through the strength of our industry, including USA Triathlon and IRONMAN teaming up to drive this initiative, feels so incredibly positive.”
Dawson Hughes | CEO, U.S. Masters Swimming
"Many U.S. Masters Swimming members also do triathlons, and we're excited to see USA Triathlon encouraging more participation in the sport. We have clubs and coaches across the country ready to welcome new triathletes and help them get the swimming skills and training they need to participate in triathlons.”
Charles Johanson | USA Triathlon West Region Chair
“Growing participation in our sport is a goal that the entire triathlon community should stand behind. It’s exciting to see USA Triathlon and IRONMAN taking the lead on this important initiative, and I know the sport will benefit as a result. I look forward to taking part in Time to Tri by recruiting new triathletes on the West Coast, and by supporting strong regional training and racing opportunities that will allow them to thrive.”
Sarah True | Two-Time U.S. Olympian | 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta & IRONMAN 70.3 Austin Champion, IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga Runner-Up
“I am delighted to see USA Triathlon and IRONMAN working together to grow our sport. By reaching out to potential triathletes and helping these 'newbies' on their way to their first triathlon, we will see more and more people falling in love with triathlon. Getting into the sport can be intimidating, but with the resources that USA Triathlon and IRONMAN are providing, we can help break down some of the common barriers that keep interested people from delving into triathlon. None of us are able to get into the sport without some help; seeing these two organizations spearhead a campaign to help new athletes fills an important role.”
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 200 events across 50 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.