COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The second annual Endurance Exchange, the premier industry-wide conference for endurance sports hosted by USA Triathlon, came to a close Saturday after three days of education, inspiration and connection in and around the multisport community. The virtual event drew more than 1,000 total attendees — nearly doubling the participation of the inaugural event, held in-person in January 2020 in Tempe, Arizona, and marking the largest and most diverse industry conference in USA Triathlon’s history.
USA Triathlon launched Endurance Exchange last year in collaboration with Triathlon Business International (TBI) in an effort to grow, inspire and support the triathlon community by 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.
This year’s event offered a dynamic lineup of 132 speakers and 79 educational and networking sessions. With specific content tracks for key constituent groups and general sessions relevant to all multisport enthusiasts, the conference drew 629 coaches, 165 race directors, 187 club leaders and 53 medical professionals, as well as hundreds of athletes.
Endurance Exchange was created to bring the entire multisport community together, combining several pre-existing industry conferences into one — including the former TBI Annual Conference, USA Triathlon Race Director Summit, Art & Science of Triathlon International Coaching Symposium, and, starting in 2021, the Medical Multisport Conference.
The conference kicked off with a State of the Sport Address from USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris, in which he gave an update on the organization’s short- and long-term priorities and announced a partnership with Pocket Outdoor Media, publishers of Triathlete Magazine, to drive triathlon participation and increase value for USA Triathlon Annual Members.
Eight keynote speakers shared riveting personal stories, motivational messages and takeaways for the multisport community. Gwen Jorgensen, 2016 U.S. Olympic triathlon gold medalist and Tokyo Olympic 10k hopeful, reflected on the evolution of her career — from collegiate standout to tax accountant, to Olympic triathlon champion and now to professional runner — and the way she balances motherhood and family alongside her athletic goals.
Apolo Anton Ohno, decorated U.S. Olympic speedskater, spoke about his background and path to the Olympics, training for and finishing IRONMAN Kona in under 10 hours, and his unique “Gold Medal Mindset” to unlocking performance, overcoming adversity and excelling in any climate.
Dr. John Ratey, internationally recognized neuropsychiatrist, shared the latest research on the brain and body and implications for athletes, coaches and race directors. Chris Mosier, transgender activist, Team USA athlete and U.S. Olympic Trials competitor in racewalking, spoke about finding oneself and a sense of belonging, creating community and inclusive environments, and how all of us can create change in the world starting in sport.
In one of the most anticipated sessions of Endurance Exchange, triathlon’s legendary “Big Four” — Mark Allen, Scott Molina, Dave Scott and Scott Tinley — reminisced about their famous battles, triumphs and adventures, all while candidly addressing never-before-asked questions about their time at the pinnacle of the sport, lessons learned and their thoughts on the future of triathlon.
The sport’s most engaging personalities brought their energy and charisma as emcees: Bob Babbitt, Co-Founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation; Mike Reilly, Steve Fleck and Michanda Myles, leading endurance sports announcers and commentators; Karen Symers, Hall of Fame triathlete, coach and race director; and Col. Yvonne Spencer, Air Force Colonel and Founder of FastChix Triathlon Club.
Several of triathlon’s most decorated and inspiring athletes took part in Q&As and panels, including Katie Zaferes, U.S. Olympian and World Triathlon champion, and her husband Tommy Zaferes, World Triathlon photographer; Grace Norman, U.S. Paralympic gold medalist and two-time world champion; Howie Sanborn, U.S. elite paratriathlete; and Chris Nikic, the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an IRONMAN.
Nikic’s session — held in a conversational format with his coach Hector Torres, father Nik Nikic, and Mike Reilly — was one of the most inspiring moments of Endurance Exchange, as he chronicled his journey to the finish line of IRONMAN Florida and his mission to get “1% Better” each day. Nikic’s next goal is to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The industry’s top coaches, event directors, medical professionals, and sports marketing and business executives lent their expertise to educational sessions — including Molly Arbogast, President and CEO of POV Sports Marketing; Mike McCarley, President, Golf and Global Strategy, NBC Sports Group; Pat Hitchins, CEO of FitRankings; Gabriela Gallegos, President of Race El Paso and member of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors and World Triathlon Executive Board; Wesley Johnson, Head Coach and Owner of Balanced Art Multisport and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s 2019 Paralympic Coach of the Year; Maria Simone, Owner and Head Coach of No Limits Endurance Coaching; Kyle McLaughlin, Tough Mudder CEO; Andrew Messick, IRONMAN CEO; and Doug Hiller, Orthopedic Surgeon at Washington State University and Medical Official for World Triathlon, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon.
A virtual expo, open throughout the weekend, gave attendees the chance to connect with 20-plus exhibitors including USA Triathlon corporate partners and other endurance sports brands.
Race directors and coaches at Endurance Exchange had the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to further their professional development, and medical professionals earned Continuing Medical Education credits (CMEs) for their participation.
USA Triathlon also offered 19 scholarships to Endurance Exchange to foster diversity, equity, inclusion and access and bring varied perspectives to the event, while encouraging the participation of individuals who may not otherwise have been able to attend.
Virtual group workouts were offered each morning, including Pilates sessions led by Pilates for Sports, a USA Triathlon corporate partner; indoor cycling rides led by Karen Smyers, Hall of Fame triathlete, and Emma-Kate Lidbury, professional triathlete and Managing Editor of Triathlete Magazine; and a strength workout led by Kelly O’Mara, Triathlete Magazine Editor-In-Chief and professional triathlete.
USA Triathlon Foundation
As the designated charity for Endurance Exchange, attendees had the option to donate to the USA Triathlon Foundation as part of their registration. Select donors were treated to an exclusive VIP reception and Q&A with Apolo Anton Ohno over Zoom, following his keynote presentation on Friday night. The Foundation also held a virtual silent auction throughout Endurance Exchange with prizes including exclusive training, racing and travel experiences, triathlon gear packages and other premium items. The auction is ongoing through Sunday, Jan. 31, in support of the Foundation’s mission, which is to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run. To bid on available items, click here. To learn more about the Foundation or to donate directly, visit usatriathlonfoundation.org.
View Recorded Sessions
All sessions at Endurance Exchange were recorded and are available for registered attendees to view at enduranceexchange.com. Registration will also remain open through Jan. 31 for those who did not attend live but wish to tune into the recorded sessions.
Request for Proposal for Next Two Endurance Exchange Hosts
USA Triathlon is requesting proposals for future host venues for the next two years of the conference, as an in-person event. The next edition will take place between fall 2021 and spring 2022, and the following edition between fall 2022 and spring 2023. The conference should be hosted near a major city in a warm, southern climate, conducive to fitness activities and outdoor product activations. For more information, click here.
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 World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).