05 May The long and short of Triathlon
Like many sports, triathlon has evolved over the years, and is currently rapidly changing to suit the appetites of fans in a fast-paced media dominated world. Immediate gratification by consumers, short attention spans and craving for something new is driving the revolution.
After IRONMAN Hawaii captivated American audiences in its early years from the first race in 1978, it was short fast racing that garnered attention down-under. The national triathlon series in Australia held explosive races in the late 1980’s. Television coverage was vast and excitement levels high. Amateur athletes were flocking to the sport, doing Sprint and Olympic distance events around the country every weekend.
Then IRONMAN came along, and it became a bucket-list item for many. Full IRONMAN and 70.3 distance races popped up everywhere from early 2000’s to mid 2010’s, selling out quickly as the goal of receiving an M-dot medal became an obsession.
Whilst gaining participation numbers however, it wasn’t getting television coverage. This is where Super League Triathlon saw an opportunity and stepped into the ring, with a new fast-paced high octane race in a neat 45 minute window designed for television. It hits all the elements, sleek branding, world’s best athletes and drama on the race course.
Most recently, World Triathlon has just announced that they will offer an “Eliminator” race at two ITU events this year. The knockout format over short races follows a similar style that Super League pioneered, and is a nod to the fact that audiences love this thrilling element. Rumour is that it may end up as a discipline in future Olympic Games triathlon events. Watch this space!
As an organiser, MetaSport has always kept our connection with shorter races. We noticed that athletes used these events to prepare for the longer events, and even more-so now they are happy to challenge themselves over shorter distances which require less preparation time, with less impact on work and family.