SportsEvents Magazine

JUL 2018

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July 2018 24 t SPORT Report participants but they are no less enthusi- astic about their races. In 2017, for example, the Brett/Robin- son Coastal Alabama Triathlon had 628 participants who booked 473 room nights with an economic impact that exceeded $245,000, according to tourism officials. The event includes a 1.5K swim in the Gulf of Mexico, a 40K bike ride and a 10K scenic run. Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, said sporting events along the Alabama coast often produce memories of a lifetime. USA Triathlon's Age Group Nationals, set Aug. 11-12 in Cleveland, will draw more than 2,400 athletes to Northeast Ohio, with an expected tourism revenue of $6.5 million per year. The event will be held in Cleveland in 2019 as well. About 2.5 million triathletes competed in events in 2015, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. In fact, the industry saw a 22 percent increase in par- ticipants from 2006 to 2016, according to The Outdoor Foundation's Topline Report. However, Caryn Maconi, communica- tions manager for USA Triathlon, said, "We've seen a plateau in the last few years in terms of the number of mem- bers." USA Triathlon is the U.S. national governing body for the multisport disci- plines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon. There are 4,300 USA Triathlon-sanc- tioned events in the U.S. each year and the organization has about 400,000 total members: 150,000 annual members and 250,000 one-day members. Earlier this year, USA Triathlon part- nered with IRONMAN to launch Time to Tri, an initiative to grow the sport by supporting and inspiring beginners to complete their first race. Time To Tri has a goal of introducing 100,000 new partic- ipants to the sport by 2020. "We realize that's an ambitious goal," Maconi said. "We think they're out there, we just have to tap into the right commu- nity." That starts by making Time To Tri a collaboration across all segments of the sport, she said. When the Time To Tri ini- tiative launched in January, the room was full of industry experts, brand representa- tives, coaches and other partners. "We thought it was time to start collab- orating with the whole industry," Maconi said. "It's like the saying 'a rising tide lifts all boats' kind of thing. We've asked everybody to do their part, whatever that may be." That's what's different for USA Triath- lon about this initiative, she said: "We're open to collaborating with someone who may have been seen as a competitor in the past." Time To Tri encompasses a lot of events, such as indoor triathlons, wom- en-only triathlons and youth events. Shorter events or sprint races, such as "Tri-It-On" at the Coastal Alabama Tri- athlon, have been in place for a few years to introduce the sport to new participants. That race is a 300-yard swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a two-mile run. Participants compete in the 2017 Women's Collegiate Triathlon East Regional Qualifier in Sarasota, Fla. Archi Trujillo The 2017 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships took place in Omaha, Neb. It is USA Triathlon's largest and longest-running national championship event. Archi Trujillo

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