IRONMAN and USA Triathlon have announced Time to Tri, which is billed as ‘an unprecedented industry-wide initiative to grow the sport of triathlon in the United States by supporting and inspiring beginners to complete their first race’. With the end of 2020 as a goal of introducing 100,000 new participants to the sport in the US, Time to Tri provides training and racing advice, motivational tools and other resources at its online hub, mytimetotri.com.
The initiative, a strategic joint effort founded by both parties, was unveiled last week at the Triathlon Business International (TBI) Conference in Tempe, Arizona, in a presentation led by IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick and USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris.
“As an industry leader, we are proud to join forces with USA Triathlon to spearhead the development of Time to Tri,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO for IRONMAN. “While a lot of effort has gone into this for the past few months, the truth is that we are really just beginning. The power, control and responsibility of this initiative lies with the entire industry and is truly something that should lead to the benefit of all, from athletes, to coaches, clubs, race directors and industry endemics. We all have a common interest in bringing new people into our sport.”
USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris said, “Since coming on-board as USA Triathlon CEO, my focus has been to increase collaboration across the industry and work together on a shared goal of growing participation in triathlon.”
He continued, “Time to Tri is a critical step in that process, and we are proud to partner with IRONMAN in getting this effort off the ground. But, more importantly, this is an industry-wide initiative, and we will need the support of everyone across all of the sport’s constituency groups to be successful.”
By announcing the initiative at the TBI Conference, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon reached three key groups of industry stakeholders — coaches/clubs, race directors and retailers/brand manufacturers — with a call-to-action to sign a public pledge at mytimetotri.com and make this an initiative powered by the entire industry.
After signing the pledge, which asks stakeholders to spread the word about Time to Tri with their audiences via email and social media, signees will receive a ‘playbook’ and a collection of branded digital assets to use in promoting the initiative. One of four playbooks will be distributed based on the signee’s affiliation as a race director, coach, club or brand; but each playbook includes sample messaging and strategic ideas for recruiting beginners to triathlon.
In a public rollout on Monday 5 February 2018, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon will also equip their respective members and athlete database with the tools to get involved.
The content at mytimetotri.com is inspired by qualitative and quantitative research that addresses key barriers to entry, such as swimming ability and open water swimming experience, triathlon knowledge, and the perception of a financial barrier.
The site will also offer editorial content as well as free, customized sprint-distance training plans to athletes who sign up with their email address. Each plan’s workouts are developed by USA Triathlon Certified and IRONMAN U Certified Coaches; and are based on the athlete’s self-selected skill level in the swim, bike and run.
In addition to launching the digital platform at mytimetotri.com, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon will engage in proactive outreach to identify new and aspiring triathletes. The running community is a primary target audience, and Time to Tri will have a presence at running race expos across the country in order to reach those athletes.
Time to Tri will also promote pool and indoor triathlons as a non-intimidating first triathlon experience — directly addressing the fear of open water swimming as a barrier to entry — as well as short-course (sprint- and Olympic-distance) racing, relays and beginner waves.
Building on the success of IRONMAN’s Women For Tri initiative, Time to Tri will join forces with Women For Tri to increase the percentage of women triathletes (currently, that number is 39% in the US) by driving the creation of women’s-only events and clinics while further supporting the Women For Tri online community.
Other outreach opportunities include partnering with the USA Triathlon Youth Splash & Dash Aquathlon Series, youth triathlon clubs and summer camps to recruit more young people to the sport; reaching new audiences on social media during the second annual National Triathlon Week this July; and enlisting the help of 44 of the nation’s top amateur triathletes through the USA Triathlon Ambassador Program.