Long hot summer inspires surge in UK triathlon growth

Long hot summer inspires surge in UK triathlon growth

In advance of thousands of Britons swimming, cycling and running this weekend in aid of Sport Relief, the 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 a 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 bike upgrade.

The TIA’s Annual Triathlete Survey, first undertaken in 2012, provides the most comprehensive overview of the British triathlon community. Conducted over a two month period, there were 4,100 survey responses to questions on all aspects of a triathlete’s lifestyle.

Gary Roethenbaugh, Managing Director of MultiSport Research, the author of the report for the TIA commented on the findings.. “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 triathletes remain at the forefront of the sport at an elite level and this is translating into continued interest and new participants. We look forward to welcoming many Sport Relief participants to triathlon as a result!”

The TIA, which comprises event organisers, equipment manufacturers, tour operators, retailers, distributors and media, has worked in conjunction with the British Triathlon Federation to compile the findings, which extend to all areas of a triathlete’s lifestyle and expenditure.

A complete copy of the data study is available to TIA members. For new membership enquiries, visit: www.triathlonindustryassociation.org.


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