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Happy Together? Joint Memberships May Boost Participation

15 May, 2019

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The news landed like a one-two punch. First came an article in Runner’s World about a former pro runner who, burned out on her sport, found a new calling in triathlon. Right on the heels of that was the announcement that USA Triathlon and USA Cycling would be teaming up to offer a special joint membership.

The question is whether other event owners will follow suit.

It was on the same day in late April that the two pieces of news broke. USA Triathlon and USA Cycling announced their new partnership, offering joint programs and promotions to better serve existing members while attracting new participants to both sports. And at the same time, the news came out that Chelsea Sodaro, a professional distance runner, national champion and contender at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, had turned to triathlon after burning out.

While the timing of both announcements was serendipitous, they serve to remind event owners that cooperation can often accomplish more than competition.

“As we see our members expand their interests and look for new challenges, the partnership with USA Triathlon is a great way to further service our members who are looking to build additional strength, endurance and spark their training,” said Rob DeMartini, USA Cycling CEO.

“Most triathletes in the U.S. come to us from a single-sport background such as swimming, cycling or running. Triathlon provides a unique challenge, a change of pace while cross-training and the opportunity to learn new skills — all of which can complement a single-sport focus,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO.

There are multiple benefits to cross-pollinating, including adding to athletes’ skillsets.

“Triathletes will benefit from the partnership by having access to cycling coaches and bike-handling skills clinics to help them through the longest leg,” noted DiMartini. “As draft-legal triathlons become more popular among age-group athletes, learning to ride safely in a crowded field of athletes will become increasingly important.”

Event owners, as well as athletes, it seems, are stronger together than they are apart.

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