COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon and Triathlon Business International (TBI) today announced Eric Byrnes — former MLB outfielder, current MLB Network analyst and avid triathlete and ultra-endurance athlete — as a keynote speaker for the inaugural Endurance Exchange triathlon industry conference set for Jan. 23-25 in Tempe, Arizona. Byrnes joins Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, who was announced as a keynote in October.
Registration for Endurance Exchange is open at enduranceexchange.com. The majority of topics and presenters have been finalized, and a full schedule is available on the event website. The price is currently $400 per person, with a price increase to $450 slated to go into effect on Jan. 2.
About Keynote Speaker Eric Byrnes
Byrnes played 11 seasons for the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He is now an analyst for MLB Network, host of The Daily Hustle Podcast, author of “The F*IT List — Life Lessons from a Human Crash Test Dummy,” and founder of the Let Them Play Foundation, which supports youth physical education and after-school programs nationwide.
In the summer of 2018, Byrnes became the first person in history to complete a “Triathlon Across America” — swimming 7 miles across the San Francisco Bay, cycling more than 2,400 miles from Oakland to Chicago, and running 905 miles from Chicago to New York City. His journey gave awareness to the Let Them Play Foundation while raising funds to combat the growing youth inactivity epidemic. The adventure was documented by acclaimed film producer Erich Cochran in “Let Them Play — A Triathlon Across America,” which has not yet been released to the public.
Endurance Exchange attendees will be treated to a special outdoor screening of “Let Them Play,” set for Thursday, Jan. 23 from 7-9 p.m., on the field at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium.
“I am excited about the opportunity to share my story and present ‘Let Them Play — A Triathlon Across America’ at Endurance Exchange in January,” Byrnes said. “The world of ultra-endurance sports has positively impacted my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Hopefully by sharing my unlikely journey from Major League Baseball to endurance sports, we will be able to help inspire kids and people of all ages to just keep charging!”
Byrnes was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the MLB draft out of high school but elected to attend college at the University of California, Los Angeles instead. While at UCLA, he was a three-time All-American and helped lead the Bruins to their first College World Series in 29 years. Drafted by the Houston Astros after his junior season, Byrnes again elected to stay in school to complete his education. He was drafted by the Oakland A’s after his senior campaign and left college as UCLA’s all-time hits leader and a four-time recipient of the Bruin Academic Award, given to the player with the highest GPA. He was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2013.
Byrnes was part of the 2002 “Moneyball” Oakland A’s team that won a record 20 consecutive games. In 2007, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he became the 11th player in MLB history to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases. That same year, he also won the Fielding Bible Award, given to the best MLB defensive player at each position.
Byrnes, who is bilingual, also spent five winters playing in the Dominican Professional Baseball League, leading the Licey Tigres to two championships. In 2002, he became the first American in over 20 years to win the league's Most Valuable Player award.
After retiring from baseball in 2010, Byrnes completed his first sprint triathlon on a dare. Eleven months later, he finished his first IRONMAN triathlon. Since then, he has completed countless IRONMANs, adventure races and ultra-marathons, including the grueling Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, where he earned a coveted silver belt buckle for finishing the distance within 24 hours.
Byrnes is also the subject of the award-winning documentary “Diamond to the Rough.” He holds two Guinness World Records for most holes of golf played without a cart within a 12-hour period (245) and a 24-hour period (420).
About Endurance Exchange
USA Triathlon and TBI are introducing Endurance Exchange in an effort to grow, inspire and support the triathlon community by collaboratively hosting the nation’s largest experiential triathlon summit where everyone within the multisport community can learn; share best practices, trends and innovations; network; and collaborate. All sessions and most ancillary events will take place at ASU 365 Community Union (Sun Devil Stadium) at Arizona State University.
The event combines several pre-existing industry conferences into one. It replaces the TBI Annual Conference, which was originally scheduled for the same dates in Tempe, and also encompasses the USA Triathlon Race Director Summit and Art & Science of Triathlon International Coaching Symposium.
The conference will feature a dynamic lineup of expert presenters from across the multisport industry — including Jesse Thomas, professional triathlete and founder of Picky Bars, who will present on entrepreneurship; Derek Murphy, founder of Marathon Investigation, who will speak alongside SportStats’ AJ Mousseau on preventing course cutting in triathlon; and Pure Spectrum’s Brady Bell and Hand & Stone’s Nathan Nordstrom, who will discuss CBD usage in endurance sports.
Acclaimed triathlon coaches Gale Bernhardt; Kelly Burns Gallagher; Marilyn Chycota; Brian Grasky; Jennifer Harrison; Lisa Ingarfield; Jesse Kropelnicki; Stacey Miller; Rachel Sears Casanta; Maria Simone; Susan Sotir; Matt Valyo; and Jim Vance, as well as veteran race directors Michael Epstein; Gabriela Gallegos; Dave McGillivray; Eric Opdyke; Carrie Panek; Jonathan Pauley; Andre Quirino; Eva Solomon; Faye Yates; Earl Walton and others will present on various topics to help fellow coaches and race directors improve their businesses and grow the sport as a whole.
Race directors, coaches and officials in attendance will gain Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to further their professional development. In addition, USA Triathlon Race Director and Coaching certifications and recertifications will be offered in Tempe in the lead-up to the event from Jan. 21-22. For more information about certifications, email email@example.com (coaches) and firstname.lastname@example.org (race directors).
Also taking place in Tempe in conjunction with Endurance Exchange are the USA Triathlon Partner Summit, a USA Triathlon-sanctioned aquathlon race, a USA Triathlon Foundation Fantasy Camp with the Project Podium squad, and “A Celebration of Sport — An Evening to Encourage, Inspire and Ignite — Benefiting the USA Triathlon Foundation,” which will include the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The tenth induction class of the Hall of Fame includes Mike Plant (posthumous), Dick and Rick Hoyt, and Cherie Gruenfeld.
Additional details on featured speakers and topics will be shared in the coming weeks. For more information about Endurance Exchange and to register before the Jan. 2 price increase, visit enduranceexchange.com.
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
About Triathlon Business International
Triathlon Business International is a global organization dedicated to promoting the sport and business of triathlon. TBI was founded by a coalition of industry leaders who saw the need for the triathlon business community to come together in an organization dedicated to promoting the sport and the business of triathlon. Information about membership can be found at triathlonbusinessintl.com.