It's that first one that matters the most. Even if you've lined up hundreds of times, raced all the distances and even gotten a coveted bowl at Kona, none of it would have happened if you had quit after race numero uno.
Do you remember yours? If you're like us, you likely showed up on race day with a stomach full of butterflies. Check in was a blur and then in transition, it looked like everyone else knew Exactly what they were doing.
If you were lucky you knew to pump up your tires, figured out how to hang your bike on the rack and then copied the people who looked experienced as you set up a little transition area.
Then, when you were standing by the water waiting for the starting horn...well, let's just say that the horn wasn't the only thing ready to blow!
But after surviving the swim and making it out onto the bike in one piece, things started to look up. Finally, it was time to run. And before you knew it, oh my goodness...there's the finish line! When the volunteers hung that finisher medal around your neck, you felt as if you could float home. You had done it! You finished your very first Triathlon and you were a Triathlete!
Few things in sport feel like the finish line of a Triathlon
However....if you weren't quite as lucky, you might have faced a different scenario. In this universe, you showed up and immediately felt like people were speaking in code. Body Marking this way. No...this isn't where you rack your bike. This area is for elites. Go that way to get to T-1!
T-1....what's T-1? Is Skynet the race director or something?
And don't get us started about the trauma that can be caused by unfriendly racers. There's no doubt that getting barked at by an angry competitor while you're already scared out of your wits is all it takes to make that first triathlon your last.
And when that happens, everyone loses. The athlete misses taking a path that could be positively life changing. The hard-working race directors lose a repeat customer. The local tri club doesn't get a new member. A slot goes unfilled on a coach's schedule and even the other competitors lose the chance to make a new friend or even get a new rival.
That's why, over the winter, we huddled up as a team to talk about ways that we can ensure that more ladies experience scenario one at their very first race. We knew we couldn't do this on our own, so we started reaching out to a few amazing race directors, a few other product sponsors, and one incredible former female professional. In fairly short order, a plan came together.
In January, we began coming onboard as a sponsor at some incredible races. Every one of the races already had a fantastic reputation for being well-run and beginner friendly.
The sponsorship discussions were a bit unique in that they had two components. First, we paid for a traditional sponsorship where we got our name on the website, a race booth etc. Then we purchased 15 to 20 entries to each race. This is where it gets really cool!
With a lot of help from the race directors, we began identifying ladies who were interested in doing their first ever triathlon. We provided them free entry into the event, a welcome pack of race essentials, a training plan, entry into an online cycling club and most importantly we started getting them together on zoom calls and in a Facebook group.
The idea is that if this passionate group can work together to make that first race experience absolutely Amazeballs, then there's a high likelihood that many or hopefully all, of these ladies will continue their journey in this great sport.
We're still working on an official name for the program, but everyone involved is incredibly excited. Triathlon has been a life changing sport for many of us and we're looking forward to being able to say hello and cheer for almost 200 first time female triathletes as they participate in this program in 2023!
So a huge thank you to everyone that worked to make this happen and please join us in cheering for these incredible first time triathletes!
Here's where you'll see these ladies lining up:
- March 26th, Pinkstrong Women's Duathlon
- April 29th, Tri4Gold Super Sprint & Olympic Triathlon
- May 20th, She Tris Women's Triathlon
- June 25th, Ames Triathlon
- August 13th, Wisconsin Women's Sprit Triathlon
- August 20th, Without Limits Women's Sprint Triathlon
- July 23rd, GA Peach Women's Sprint Triathlon
Here are the other companies working with us to make this happen:
Happy Training and Racing!
p.s. If you're asking yourself, what else can be done to help grow this program, we'd say...That's a great question! To some extent, we're making this up as we go along and we'd love for you to join the cause. Anything that we can add to the program to help these first timers is good for us all, so feel free to send your thoughts our way to Reg@coeursports.com.