USA Triathlon

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What is Sanctioning?

The term 'USA Triathlon sanctioned' indicates to the event organizer, participant athletes, host communities and others that race planning and preparation has met the requirements established by USA Triathlon. It signifies that the race director has completed a thorough review of the swim, bike and run courses, has evaluated and planned for medical, emergency, safety and volunteer support and will conduct the event according to the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules. Among the materials submitted for USA Triathlon review and approval are safety plans, course maps and event details. The process is online so it can be adjusted for changes and effectively integrated as a planning tool for race directors.

Why Sanction with USA Triathlon?

Athletes expect a worry-free experience when they register for an event. Participants should be able to arrive at their event with minimal distractions, leaving their sole focus on racing. Sanctioning with USA Triathlon provides that positive experience in the following ways:

  1. Providing the collective wisdom of over 35,000 sanctioned races completed over the last 30 years.
  2. Delivering athlete peace-of-mind by ensuring industry-wide safety standards.
  3. Sanctioned races ensure a fair race; governed under the industry-standard Competitive Rules.
  4. Sanctioned races provide the Gold Standard of insurance protection for the event, athlete, and venue.
  5. Sanctioned races provide ranking points for regional and national rankings, including annual designations of USA Triathlon All-American status.
  6. Marketing your events through the brand-new Sanctioned Events Calendar, the second-most viewed page on our website behind the homepage.
  7. Only sanctioned races provide the opportunity to qualify for National Championships and then qualify for World Championships as a member of Team USA.
  8. Results are stored for all sanctioned events on one centralized website.
  9. Support of the National Governing Body by enabling it to develop new programming, grow the sport, and fund initiatives including youth participation, Olympic programming and paratriathlon.
  10. USA Triathlon’s mission is “to grow and inspire the triathlon community”—a virtuous cycle that directly benefits each race director and all athletes at all sanctioned even

How Do I Start the Sanction Process?



Things to Remember as you Complete the Application 

  1. Adult and youth events must be sanctioned and insured separately therefore each event must have a sanction application on file.
  2. Course maps are required (itineraries are required for clinics) each year for safety and insurance purposes.  Please be sure to include a map of the transition area(s) and pool course.  
  3. Five-year age groups in increments starting with 20-24 and going through 85-plus are required.  There are no age group requirements for youth events except that all participants must be 17 and under.
  4. Mass swim starts or wave starts of more than 150 athletes require a rules dispensation request. Hybrid swim starts also require a rules dispensation request. This request must be resubmitted each year for approval. You will be notified by an Event Services staff member reviewing your event to send responses to the following questions. 
    How many athletes are in the mass start?
    How many athletes total are in the event?
    What is the width of the start area?
    What is the distance from the start line to the first turn?
    How will the mass start enhance the safety of the event?   
    Please Note - the same mass start rules that govern a swim also apply to duathlon starts and a rules dispensation request is required.
  5. Water testing is a requirement, even for pool swims. USAT recommends that you follow the guidelines established by the agency that governs your body of water, such as the county, city, EPA, pool management, etc. USAT will accept whatever criteria the permitting agency has established for swimability and human contact. Please obtain a copy of the certificate that is issued nearest to the event date and keep it with the event files for seven years, as it may need to be provided to USAT after the event.

Need a USAT membership account?

You will need a current USAT membership account to access the Sanction System. If you have a USAT membership number and password, you’ll use that log in information to access the Sanction System. If you do not have a USAT membership, click here and fill out the required info to get a USAT member number and password to access the Sanction System.