How California Triathlon Puts on $30 Races
by Toni McCallister
Ed. Note—you probably signed up for some races this year. Heck, you probably signed up for races last year that you're only getting to do now. It's also likely that you paid a pretty penny for that event. Those dollars erect a barrier to entry to our sport, and triathlon's numbers have dropped 36% from 2010 to 2019. California Triathlon, one of Wattie Ink.'s partners, wants to change that fact and still give you an amazing event. We are incredibly proud to work with this brand, as it fits with our mission of making statements and providing a place for all in triathlon. Read the excellent piece from our friends at Triathlete Magazine to learn how Cal Tri will accomplish that goal.
Wattie Ink. will supply the official California Triathlon race suits and custom branded triathlon apparel through the end of 2022. You can read about that here.
Thom Richmond wants to tear down this financial barrier to triathlon entry. “There’s an area that’s completely ignored,” he says of tri’s demographics, which skew toward mostly male, white, high-income earners in their middle 40s. “That’s not where most of the country is.” Pointing to U.S. Census Bureau data, Richmond believes there’s growth potential for triathlon, but costs must be lowered in order to attract newcomers—from all socioeconomic backgrounds—to the sport.
A 49-year-old engineer by trade and an age-grouper triathlete by passion, Richmond is a former Southern Californian who now lives in Virginia. He followed his wife to “Old Dominion” after she received a sweet job offer: VP of admissions at Washington and Lee University. The family made the move in 2015, but Richmond maintains strong California ties. He used to work at the Walt Disney Company (lots of friends) and in 2010 he helped found the non-profit California Triathlon—a now nearly 5,000-member strong tri team—where he still serves as a very active board member.
Ed. Note—in case you weren't convinced, here are some of the facts about Cal Tri:
- Cal Tri Events is a 501(c)3 non profit organization with a safe, affordable & accessible mission
- They are rolling out the nation's largest short-course triathlon series to cover the Top 20 US Markets
- From 2010 to 2019 participation in triathlon has dropped 36% in the U.S. California Triathlon's solution is to remove affordability barriers:
- Individuals pay as low as $60 for a sprint and $75 for an Olympic with our Early Bird pricing
- 50% age based discount for athletes 22 and under
- A typical family of 4 can compete for $180 with Early Bird pricing
- Athletes who volunteer at our races earn a free race
- 1/3 of participants are first timers, 1/3 are novice and the final 1/3 have had some experience in the sport
- Average Cal Tri participant age is 32, almost 17 years younger than triathlon's at-large average age
- At 2019 Cal Tri Newport Dunes, our athletes raised $250,000 for Special Olympics and Crohn's & Colitis