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Long hot summer inspires surge in triathlon growth

Britain’s multisport community experienced double digit growth last year, fuelled by the post-Olympic glow and sixth hottest summer since records began, according to the Triathlon Industry Association, which comprises event organisers, equipment manufacturers, tour operators, retailers, distributors and media.

The interim research results of the TIA’s annual triathlete survey have shown a significant increase in all types of race start – sprint, Olympic, middle and long distance – during 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 estimates a 16 per cent rise in 2013 participation to 110,000 active triathletes.

Triathlon continues to welcome significant new blood, with the TIA study finding 48 per cent of respondents had started their triathlon journey within the last three years.

In terms of athletes’ origins before triathlon, 56 per cent were runners before they took up the sport, 19 per cent were swimmers and 22 per cent were road cyclists.

The research also revealed triathletes regularly invest 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 £1,550 on their latest bike and expected to spend £2,000 on their next upgrade.

“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,” Gary Roethenbaugh, managing director of MultiSport Research, the author of the report for the TIA, says.

“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.”

Conducted over a two-month period, the TIA’s study comprised 4,100 survey responses to questions on all aspects of a triathlete’s lifestyle.

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