COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the immediate suspension of events across the nation due to social distancing and quarantine impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the endurance sports landscape formed the Endurance Sports Coalition to advocate for relief. The grassroots coalition creates one united voice for the endurance sports industry, which accounts for 50,000 events annually, 500,000 jobs, and provides health and fitness experiences to 30 million Americans. The coalition plans to educate Congress and the White House about the need for relief and support for operators of endurance sporting events and their supporting industries.
Forged by USA Triathlon, Spartan, Tough Mudder, IRONMAN, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, Running USA and USA Cycling, the coalition currently has more than 475 members across the triathlon, multisport, running, obstacle course and cycling event industries.
“Race directors nationwide have been forced to postpone or cancel hundreds of USA Triathlon-sanctioned multisport events in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many race production companies, this is a real threat to their livelihood,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “In addition, without races taking place many endurance coaches have lost clients and are struggling to stay in business. We are proud to join fellow industry leaders in the Endurance Sports Coalition to advocate for relief for our constituents who are struggling financially as a result of the public health crisis.”
The effort has gained the support of U.S. Senator for Arizona Kyrsten Sinema, an accomplished triathlete.
“The endurance sports industry supports thousands of jobs and has helped millions of Americans lead healthier lives. I am proud to see IRONMAN’s commitment to communities across our country continue during the coronavirus pandemic,” Sinema said.
The endurance sports industry provides billions of dollars in annual economic impact to major cities and small towns alike, filling hotel rooms and restaurants and supporting sporting goods and specialty retailers. Thousands of charitable organizations also rely on events as critical fundraising platforms.
“30 million Americans rely on fitness events as a means to transform their lives and maintain their physical fitness, and a date on the calendar provides a goal,” said Joe De Sena, Founder and CEO of Spartan. “Everyone is struggling right now, and many of these events, which have long and broad histories, are organized by small businesses that are at risk of disappearing. Even more crucial is support for the 500,000 people who are mostly out of work or have had salaries reduced as a result of the pandemic.”
“This is a time unlike any in our lives. We feel it is our obligation as industry leaders to advocate for a path forward that enables our more than 450 organizations and half a million people to withstand the threat posed by COVID-19,” said Andrew Messick, President & CEO of The IRONMAN Group. “There is uncertainty around health, the economy and sport. We don’t know when racing will start again, but we know the positive economic impact endurance sports provides to our host cities and the transformative physical and mental impact participating in sport provides to our millions of athletes.”
With no clear end in sight to bans on mass gatherings and social distancing measures, it is critical to ensure that organizations can continue to retain their staff, pay their suppliers and be poised to host events for their participants again once it is safe to resume group activities. The endurance sports industry largely comprises small businesses, many of whom are longstanding pillars of their local communities. In addition to sustaining 500,000 jobs, there is an even greater number of freelance, part-time and temporary employment opportunities across the organizations.
The Endurance Sports Coalition is open to every event organizer, race director, coach, trainer, and the full array of suppliers and service providers who support the industry. To join the cause or learn more, visit: join.endurancesportscoalition.org.
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 the Endurance Sports Coalition
The Endurance Sports Coalition consists of a growing roster of more than 475+ member organizations who have come together as one collective voice to advocate on behalf of the industry. Forged by organizers of Spartan, Tough Mudder, IRONMAN, Rock & Roll Marathon Series, Running USA, USA Triathlon and USA Cycling, the coalition represents more than 50,000 events and 30 million Americans who rely on mass participation events to run, bike, swim, conquer obstacle courses, and better their bodies and their lives. The three-billion-dollar industry drives critical economic impact to major cities and small municipalities, employs 500,000 people, and raises hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of charitable causes. Click HERE to learn more and join the coalition’s efforts.
Caryn Maconi, Manager of Media and Public Relations, USA Triathlon
Hannah Hurley, Press Secretary, Office of U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
Jonathan Fine, Head of Global Brand Communications, Spartan
Dan Berglund, Global Director, Communications, The IRONMAN Group