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USA Triathlon Launches Safe Return to Multisport Initiative

By USA Triathlon | May 07, 2020, 7 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its Safe Return to Multisport initiative, a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach that will outline racing and training guidelines and recommendations for the multisport community to manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first two documents in the series, “USA Triathlon Safe Return to Multisport Guidelines” and “Return to Racing Recommendations for Race Directors,” are available now

The initiative has been developed in coordination with experienced race directors, medical experts, certified coaches, club directors, officials, athletes and endurance sport leaders while relying on fact-based recommendations from other expert resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and utilizing sport-specific guidelines developed by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the International Triathlon Union. These documents are intended to be used in conjunction with guidelines issued by federal, state and local authorities — including adherence to mass gathering thresholds, physical distancing and sanitation protocols. 

The “USA Triathlon Safe Return to Multisport Guidelines” document uses the U.S. government’s three-phased approach to reopening America as a framework to give the entire multisport community guidance on racing and training. The document is designed to comply with federal guidelines for individuals and employers. It is, however, flexible to allow race directors to adapt their application to guidance from state and local authorities as well as local circumstances, such as population density regulations and severity of COVID-19 outbreaks. 

The “Return to Racing Recommendations for Race Directors” document was developed in coordination with the Race Director Committee with input from the National Coaching Committee, Age Group Committee, Duathlon Committee, Global Safety Task Force and industry leaders. The recommendations provide best practices and enhanced safety standards for race directors, including how to maintain appropriate physical distancing, screening and sanitation measures throughout an event. Using these resources, race directors will be able to provide assurances to both their participants and local authorities that their races are being held safely and responsibly based on current public health guidelines in their area. 

“As the governing body for triathlon and multisport in this country, it is essential that USA Triathlon takes a leadership role in developing and disseminating information to guide a consistent and unified approach toward reopening our sport to the public,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “We have worked with some of the top experts in the world to develop these guidelines to offer clarity for event directors, athletes and the community at large, and to provide the tools for all constituents to be able to prioritize safety above all else in training and racing.” 

“USA Triathlon has worked diligently to create a plan for safe return to multisport training and racing that is line with national medical guidelines,” said Dr. Andrew Getzin, USA Triathlon Volunteer Medical Chair. “The value of physical activity for overall wellness cannot be overstated, nor can the passion of our members to the multisport lifestyle. We want to encourage individual and community wellness by progressing individual training and racing activities incrementally. While USA Triathlon’s plan is a strong starting point to progress in a way that keeps participants, volunteers, and communities safe from undue risk of infection, we ask that everybody stays nimble and flexible as more data around COVID-19 potentially emerges.”

"These guidelines represent a valuable resource for multisport race directors facing the new challenges of producing events in a world where the coronavirus still exists,” said Mark Walter, owner of Sun Multisport Events and Co-Chair of the USA Triathlon Race Director Committee. “Every race director should carefully review these guidelines and integrate them into their event planning process".

“With the dramatic changes to our racing world over the past several weeks and with the unknown future, I appreciate the work that USA Triathlon has put into creating guidelines to help ease some of the difficult decisions we will be facing when we return to racing,” said Eva Solomon, Founder and CEO of Epic Races, LLC and Co-Chair of the USA Triathlon Race Director Committee.

Additional athlete-focused materials will be released in the coming weeks, including “Return to Racing for Athletes” and a “Return to Racing Training Program.” The “Return to Racing for Athletes” document will walk multisport participants through the changes they should expect when races return to the calendar, what these changes will look like in practice, and why such measures are necessary and effective. 

The “Return to Racing Training Program,” led by USA Triathlon-certified coach and 2004 U.S. Olympian Barb Lindquist with contributions from 12 additional USA Triathlon-certified coaches, will provide best practices for athletes to personally resume triathlon-specific training and racing safely. Guidelines will emphasize the importance of reducing exposure and transmission of COVID-19 during training, while providing a structured workout plan to prepare physically for the demands of a multisport event after extended lack of access to swimming pools and other training facilities. 

All resources are being created in conjunction with experienced race directors, medical experts and endurance sport leaders, and with reliance on resources, guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the International Triathlon Union.

USA Triathlon plans to collaborate with additional endurance sports industry organizations to communicate these guidelines broadly to all relevant audiences. The situation surrounding COVID-19 is continuously evolving, and the information included in this initiative will be regularly updated as circumstances change. Please refer to usatriathlon.org/safe-return for the latest updates.

Additional COVID-19 resources and updates from USA Triathlon are available at usatriathlon.org. USA Triathlon continues to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19, while following the guidance of local authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), when making decisions regarding the status of USA Triathlon events and programs.   

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).