Recently USA Triathlon and IRONMAN teamed up and created the Time to Tri Initiative aimed at attracting 100,000 new athletes into the sport of Triathlon. In this podcast, Barry Siff, President of the USAT Board of Directors discussed how this initiative came to be, what it means for local races and how it will impact the sport overall. The program hopes to inspire grass roots approaches to making triathlon more accessible.
At 303Triathlon, we are starting the “303 Beginner Tri Project”. We will tackle some fundamental challenges beginners face and offer workout goals and key workouts for local races and encourage new triathletes to gather for information and group training opportunities. Stay tuned for more on this. Meanwhile, take a listen to this podcast with Barry!”
TEMPE, Ariz. — The USA Triathlon Board of Directors elected four of its members to officer seats at its first meeting of 2018, held today in Tempe prior to the Triathlon Business International Annual Conference.
Barry Siff (Tucson, Ariz.) was re-elected as Board of Directors President, extending his tenure that initially began in 2014. Also re-elected was Treasurer Kevin Haas (Berkeley, Calif.), who has been serving in that role since 2014.
Staci Brode (Dallas, Texas), who served as Secretary from 2016-2017, was elected Vice President. Mike Wien (Marietta, Ga.), who served as Vice President from 2014-2017, was elected Secretary.
Siff has been involved in the triathlon community for nearly 30 years — first as a competitor, then as a race director and coach. He first joined the USA Triathlon Board of Directors in 2012, has been a member of the ITU Executive Board since 2014, and represents the U.S. on the CAMTRI (American Triathlon Confederation) Executive Board. He is also a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach.
“I am proud to continue in my role as President of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, especially as we carry out our Strategic Plan focused on collaboration and growing triathlon participation nationwide,” Siff said. “I know my fellow officers are equally committed to providing leadership and direction as we advance USA Triathlon’s mission. Most importantly, our collective passion for the sport will guide us in making decisions that help our multisport community thrive.”
“Each elected officer brings a wealth of experience and an innovative mindset to the USA Triathlon Board of Directors,” said Joel Rosinbum, an Elite Athlete Representative on the Board and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee. “I am confident in the leadership team’s abilities to take on the opportunities and challenges that our sport faces today, and I look forward to working alongside each of them in the year to come.”
Haas has been a member of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors since 2013. He previously served as the Collegiate Committee Chair, Conference Commissioner for the West Coast Collegiate Triathlon Conference and President of the UC-Berkeley Triathlon Team. Haas holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from UC-Berkeley and is the Director of Bioinformatics at Counsyl Inc., a health technology company that offers DNA screening for diseases that can impact men, women and their children.
Brode has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2015, and is the Board liaison to the Race Director Committee. She is a USA Triathlon Level 2 Certified Race Director who has been producing triathlons since 2004. Brode is the President of Playtri, overseeing race production for more than 25 events as well as overall operations of the company, which also includes retail stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Through Playtri, Brode is also involved with coaching and group training programs, youth programs and triathlon camps. She runs her business with her husband, Ahmed Zaher. She has two sons, Ali, 10, and Aiman, 6.
Wien joined the Board in 2013 and served as its Vice President from 2014-2017. He spent 28 years in senior marketing leadership positions at Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Omni Hotels, CitiBank and Deloitte. Wien left the corporate world 15 years ago to become a professional speaker, a marketing professor at Georgia State University, a consultant and a dedicated triathlete.
As mandated by USA Triathlon Bylaws, the officer seats — President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer — are elected by the members of the Board of Directors with the vote taking place at the first meeting of the year following a general election.
EVER DREAMED ABOUT competing in a triathlon? You’re not the only one. According to USA Triathlon, the organization that oversees all of the nation’s triathlon races, triathlons are growing in number.
One reason is the sprint triathlon, which features shorter distances per discipline (a half-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run) than the much more demanding Ironman challenge (a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run). “Anyone can train for a triathlon, regardless of their age, as long as they swim, bike and run to build fitness,” says Joe Friel, author of Your First Triathlon: Race Ready in 5Hours a Week (Velo Press, 2012; not available at Costco). “It’s definitely doable.”
“Most athletes who are new to the sport don’t have an endurance background or equipment they’ll need for longer distances, so competing in a sprint triathlon is a good way to test the waters,” says Debi Bernardes, a triathlete and tri coach trainer (ucandoitcoach.com) based in Virginia…
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Rocky Harris, a multifaceted professional sports executive and collegiate athletics administrator, today was announced by USA Triathlon President Barry Siff as the new Chief Executive Officer for the National Governing Body.
Harris, who was named to SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious “Forty Under 40” list in April, spent the past five-plus years as an athletics administrator at his alma mater, Arizona State University, and comes to Colorado Springs with two decades of experience across professional and collegiate sports, as well as the corporate sector. An age-group triathlete, Harris has been instrumental in helping grow triathlon at the collegiate level and has been recognized for developing and implementing innovative initiatives throughout his career.
“The USA Triathlon Board of Directors is unanimously enthusiastic about welcoming Rocky to help lead our sport forward here in the U.S. and on the international stage,” said Siff. “Rocky brings 20 years of demonstrated leadership in key areas consistent with our new strategic plan: building collaborative partnerships, listening and working closely with key constituents and stakeholders, and being an inspiring leader of people. His passion for triathlon is extremely high, and we are confident he can help grow our sport in an effort to make a healthier America.”
“I want to thank Barry, the USA Triathlon Board of Directors and members of the hiring committee for the opportunity to work with a sport I’m truly passionate about and to serve the triathlon community,” Harris said. “I look forward to furthering a culture of excellence at USA Triathlon and working alongside the talented staff already in place who share my belief in triathlon’s special ability to bring people with different backgrounds together from across the world. The chance to take a sport I love and make it accessible to all communities and relevant to all generations, as well as build upon USA Triathlon as an inspirational and innovative brand, will be an exciting and fulfilling challenge. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made at ASU and confident the athletics department is set up for long-term success under Ray Anderson’s leadership.”
Harris and the USA Triathlon Board of Directors have already identified a number of priorities to advance the organization’s strategic plan, including creating collaborative partnerships within the sport and enhancing technology to engage new audiences. Additionally, Harris will look to collaborate with the High Performance department in support of the U.S. National Team, and find ways to increase value for members, coaches, race directors, clubs, elite athletes, volunteers, officials, corporate partners and others touched by the sport.
Harris’ role at ASU evolved throughout his tenure, with his most recent position as Chief Operating Officer, a role that included direct oversight of the strategic planning, implementation, administration and day-to-day operations of Sun Devil Athletics.
“Simply put, Rocky is not only one of the best administrators I have worked with in my career, but he is also one of the most well-rounded individuals I know,” ASU Athletics Director Ray Anderson said. “He is passionate, genuine, dynamic and strategic, and his unique skill set and perspective will undoubtedly help him flourish in this new role.”
Held at the University of Colorado and co-sponsored by USA Cycling and USA Triathlon, this 3-day event focused on the business and science of coaching endurance athletes. Keynote speakers included six-time Ironman champion Dave Scott, USAT running coach Bobby McGee and Dirk Friel from TrainingPeaks.
Participants had the opportunity to listen to talks in sports physiology and coaching business. In this year’s format (2016 was the inaugural summit) there were 20-minute business roundtables, where coaches could break into small groups to hear quick presentations on business law, running a multi-coach business, enhancing your social media presence and using TrainingPeaks’ coach referral program.
Networking opportunities were built into the design throughout. Roka hosted a swim workout and Dave Scott a run workout, both on Friday morning before sessions began. Retul hosted a pre-conference networking session at their new facility on Airport Road in Boulder.
Coach Raeleigh Harris said, “The summit showcased the best coaching methodology, technology and leadership available to us today, all in one location. Total immersion into this setting was invaluable moving forward in development of Coaching services and supporting platforms.”
Emceed by Barry Siff, President of USA Triathlon, this even earned coaches 12 CEUs. Training Peaks plans to bring this event back to Boulder in 2018.
The Boulder Peak Triathlon had been a must-do race for decades. But owners – including Ironman and Life Time – passed the race around like it was a journeyman shortstop, and declining entries left competitors thinking that the race had lost its mojo. But the Boulder Peak is back in the hands of a local independent race director. Reviews are positive, prognostications are bullish, and the race is no longer back on its heels.
The story goes on to delve in to the event’s well-documented history, from its inception by Race Director Paul Karlsson in 1992, right through this year’s new owner, Lance Panigutti.
According to Slowtwitch,
Entries were slightly up in the first year under new ownership with 707 finishers, but most participants feel the quality that made the Boulder Peak race great has returned. A $20,000 pro prize purse attracted Olympians and Ironman 70.3 Champions. A cash King/Queen of the Mountain prize for the first to reach the top of Olde Stage added some flair for the race. And Panigutti is bringing back Karlsson’s sense of fun: There was a slip n’ slide at the finish line.
Check out 303’s full race coverage and recap article
“Continuing its commitment to grow the sport of triathlon, the Life Time Tri Series, produced by Life Time®, Healthy Way of Life, introduces new athlete-friendly innovations and format changes to make the sport simpler, more accessible and more exciting for new and veteran athletes.”
The new innovations include some barbs against triathlon’s governing body, USAT:
A Simpler Experience
No Hidden Fees: Finally, all-inclusive race registration pricing, which includes insurance and race registration fees – and no requirement for a USA Triathlon membership.
Coach Support: Expert coaches provide free, online training programs upon registration, as well as face to face race insights at every event.
New Officiating: No more surprises. Life Time Tri will utilize IRONMAN® and ITU rules assessment, including implementing penalty tents.
“Life Time confirmed to Slowtwitch that USA Triathlon is out. Not only will USAT’s rules not be used, and pass-thru annual and one-day memberships not be charged to registrants, the races will not be sanctioned by triathlon’s U.S. governing body.“
Around the same time, Bob Babbit hosted Breakfast with Bob at the New York City Triathlon with an update from Scott Hutmacher on LifeTime Tri’s newly announced initiatives. Hutmacher says the breadth of the LifeTime company covers the insurance, which means USAT sanctioning is not necessary. He also states, “we have no animosity with USAT.”
USA Triathlon’s president, Barry Siff, responded to LifeTime’s decision with this letter to USAT members:
Dear USA Triathlon Key Stakeholder:
Greetings, I hope this finds you well and your season has so far proven to be both rewarding and enjoyable!
I am writing to address last week’s announcement by Life Time Tri that it will no longer sanction its eight races with USA Triathlon. This announcement resulted in the circulation of misinformation, as well as several questions being posed to us. None of these items are new, and we have addressed them many times over the years.
However, as we continually strive to communicate openly and proactively with our community, I wanted to once again clarify some specific points:
The benefits of sanctioning with USA Triathlon are many.
Experience – USA Triathlon has sanctioned more than 40,000 races over the last 35 years, delivering athlete peace-of-mind by ensuring, among other things, industry-wide safety standards and high-quality event criteria.
Event Services – USA Triathlon offers an experienced and expert team to support race directors and event production companies with questions and issues, as well as provide certification, best practices, educational opportunities, and other resources.
Risk Management – Sanctioning ensures unmatched insurance protection designed specifically for multisport events – not gym memberships – to cover the event, the athlete, and the venue at the most nominal cost possible. Athletes (and their families) and race directors who have unfortunately needed to utilize this general liability and excess medical coverage, including in the tragic circumstances of catastrophic incidents, can personally attest to its irreplaceable importance. The costs incurred by USA Triathlon and our policy providers to cover claims and defend against unwarranted lawsuits have saved race directors tens of millions of dollars over the years.
Other points of clarification:
The cost for a USA Triathlon one-day membership is not a “hidden fee” as alleged by Life Time. Race directors are strongly encouraged to always notify athletes in advance about the requirement for either USA Triathlon annual or one-day membership.
Utilizing USA Triathlon Rules and Certified Officials does not result in “surprises” for athletes. In fact, just the opposite. Implementing penalties mid-race (i.e., penalty tents) actually does the following:
Removes the ability for any due process or realistic appeals by athletes – The process of assessing USA Triathlon penalties does not interfere with the athlete during competition, but instead allows the athlete to address any concerns about the violation after completing the race, and may result in the penalty being rescinded should a mistake be determined.
Threatens on-course safety – For sprint- and Olympic-distance age-group races, having officials on motorized vehicles directing athletes in real time to penalty tents can significantly decrease on-course safety, particularly on the bike leg. Short-course races for at-large age-group athletes differ considerably from long-course races, elite races, or age-group world championship races where penalty tents can all be more effectively integrated.
Regardless of claims to the contrary, customized event offerings such as the ability for athletes to choose their own wave/start time or have greater access to transition areas, are already being implemented at other sanctioned races and are not new concepts. There are many examples currently within USA Triathlon’s 4,000-plus sanctioned races where these approaches and other innovations have been successfully offered. Our goal as a sanctioning body is to be flexible and accommodate event-specific requests whenever possible, provided they do not compromise safety or the quality of experience for the athlete.
For competitive athletes, sanctioned races provide coveted points for USA Triathlon Regional and National Rankings (comprised of more than 37,039 athletes in 2016), including USA Triathlon All-American status. And only sanctioned races provide the opportunity to qualify for USA Triathlon National Championships and the chance to represent your country at ITU Age Group World Championships as a member of Team USA.
As the official National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of triathlon in the United States, we are responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are dedicated to supporting and growing youth and women’s participation in our sport. Our commitment to paratriathlon is perhaps the strongest and most successful in the world. We help educate first-time triathletes, as well as race directors, coaches and officials. And we have a very strong Safe Sport program, helping protect our members, including the most vulnerable.
The fees for one-day and annual memberships are recirculated back into the sport to accomplish all of this – and more – while fulfilling our mission to advance and promote the sport of triathlon. For example, this year we will award $60,000 in youth grants, directly assist high school programs and state championships in significant ways, and continue to support our NCAA Emerging Sport for Women initiative in order to reach full championship status.
Change for the sake of change is not a compelling strategy. Ultimately, the sport loses as a whole . . . a “strategy” that is not good for anyone.
As always, we welcome feedback, questions and concerns, so please feel free to contact me personally at email@example.com. Our commitment to you and our great sport is unwavering, and we thank YOU for being such an important part of it.
2480 Canyon Boulevard # M-2 Boulder, Colorado 80302 Date: Wednesday July 5th Time: 6:00pm with an informal happy hour – beer being sponsored by Ska Brewing
5430 Founder and Without Limits partner Barry Siff will kick things off with a lively panel discussion including:
Coach to the Pros & Team Sirius Siri Lindley – author of “Surfacing: From the depths of self doubt to living big and living fearlessly,” Founder of Believe Ranch and Rescue
D3’s Mental Training Coach Will Murray – USA Triathlon-certified coach specializing in mental conditioning, and will lead participants in three fast, effective techniques for reducing pre-race jitters, addressing negative self-talk and arriving at the start line in peak mental condition.
Skirt Sports – owner and former pro Nicole DeBoom – past overall champion and back racing for the first time as an age grouper this season!
RSVP HERE as space is limited – the event will be capped at 75 people
More info on The Peak and the 5430 Triathlon Series here
Note to Key USA Triathlon Stakeholders Greetings, I hope this finds you well and enjoying the start of a new season.
As an important stakeholder within the USA Triathlon community and the multisport industry as whole, I wanted to personally make you aware that Rob Urbach has left his position as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, to pursue other professional opportunities. Under Rob’s leadership, USA Triathlon experienced much success and rolled out several major new initiatives. Please join me in thanking Rob for his contributions to the organization over the past six years, as we wish him all the best in future endeavors.
The Board of Directors is excited to move forward with its newly developed strategic plan. Our focus is on the growth of triathlon in the United States, as well as a dedicated emphasis on our members and key constituent groups that include race directors, coaches, clubs, elite athletes, officials, and our triathlon family partners. We are encouraged by the organization’s overall success, the dedicated USA Triathlon staff, our strong position as innovators within the industry, and the enthusiasm from our hundreds of thousands of triathletes across the United States.
We are now beginning a comprehensive search to identify a new CEO, and you can expect to receive the announcement as soon as a decision has been reached. In the meantime, thank you for all that you do every day to make our sport so great.
Barry Siff President, USA Triathlon Board of Directors ITU Executive Board CAMTRI Executive Board