Long hot summer inspires triathlon growth

Triathlon Industry Association (TIA) has revealed that Britain’s multisport community experienced double digit growth last year fuelled by the post Olympic glow and the sixth hottest summer since records began


The interim research results of the Triathlon Industry Association’s Annual Triathlete Survey have shown a significant increase in all types of race start – Sprint, Olympic, Middle and Long distance – across 2013 compared with 2012, with the average number of events entered rising to 1.8, compared to 1.6 in 2012. This uplift is reflected by the British Triathlon Federation, the sport’s national governing body’s early indications, which estimate 16% uplift in 2013 participation to 110,000 active triathletes.

The sport continues to welcome significant new blood, with the study finding that 48% of respondents had started their triathlon journey within the last three years. In terms of athletes’ origins before triathlon, some 56% were runners before they came to the sport, 19% were swimmers and 22% were road cyclists.

Triathlon is a lifestyle choice for most, rather than a fad. Almost half of those surveyed (49%) train and race throughout 10-12 months of the year, with 85% training for over five hours per week throughout the winter months. Even those who hadn’t raced a triathlon in 2013 remain committed, with 88% considering a race entry within the next twelve months.

As well as a lifestyle, triathlon is a competitive sport and participants are committed to investing in the latest gear to maximise their performance. Over two thirds of those questioned expect their discretionary triathlon spend to be the same or increase over the next year, with bikes the most expensive outlay. Respondents had spent an average of £1550 on their latest bike and expected to spend £2000 on their next upgrade.

Gary Roethenbaugh, managing director of MultiSport Research, the author of the report for the TIA commented on the findings stated: “This is the second year we have undertaken this study on behalf of all the sport’s commercial stakeholders, and the results are very encouraging. The triathlon industry is determined to understand ever deeper the behaviour, needs and wants of both the sport’s existing fans and its newcomers to inform what is done collectively and individually to feed their passion.”

David Townsend, co-chairman of TIA added: “As Sport Relief has adopted a triathlon theme for this year, we felt it was appropriate to share our findings in advance of hundreds of thousands undertaking their first multisport challenge. Britain’s athletes remain at the forefront of the sport at an elite level and this is translating into continued interest and new participants.”