From Fred's Blog

November 10, 2013

The numbers game, revisited.

This weekend Florida was visited by a couple of national triathlon series; TriRock and Rev3. Both were on Florida’s Gulf Coast, TriRock took place in Clearwater and Rev3 a little bit further south in Venice.After experiencing lackluster participation numbers at this year’s Great Floridian Triathlon, I was anxious to see what the participation numbers were for those national series events. I knew both of them were hurting for participants because of the number of promotional emails with discount codes that were being distributed in the final weeks leading up to race day. In the case of TriRock, promotional emails with discount codes were even being sent out race week.  I received one just a couple of days prior to the race.

A quick glance at each respective race’s results tonight show that Rev3 had less than 500 finishers (all events combined), and TriRock had less than 700 finishers between the sprint and international distance races combined. While a local race may be happy with those participation numbers, they are not impressive for a national series. In fact I would say that the numbers are downright embarrassing for TriRock as that series is owned by the Competitor Group.  The Competitor Group gives that series more marketing clout than perhaps any triathlon series on the planet.

In retrospect, the GFT’s participation numbers may not be that bad when you compare them to Rev3. The 2013 GFT had a terrible website, confusing branding between the various events, and very little dedicated marketing focused solely on the GFT.

My goal is to turn that around in 2014 with a goal of at least a 50% increase in participation next year. Do you think it is possible?

October 30, 2013

Oops, forgot I still had a blog.

Blogging is like running, once you quit it is hard to get started again.  Now that my busy season is winding down, both of those items are moving up high on my priority list.  I’m currently in Alabama for our final Xtreme Obstacle Challenge pilot event and I told myself before I left Clermont that I would start blogging again while I am up here. I had also planned on getting in a couple of small run/walks but a nasty injury I incurred during the GFT is going to keep my running sidelined for a few more weeks.

I am looking forward to ramping up my blogging, both on here and on my garden blog.

As for running, I’m looking forward to that more than anything and I already have a spring half marathon on my radar screen.  You’ll note that I did not say spring of what year…..   :)



May 21, 2013

The numbers game

The 2013 Florida triathlon continues to grow with a record number of triathlons taking place in the sunshine state this year.  The saturation of triathlon events along with increased competition from obstacle and themed runs, has left many long standing events scrambling for participants.  Sure there may be other factors at play, but I believe the primary reason for the drop in participation is because there are just too many events to select from.  Not all parts of Florida have reached saturation, but Central Florida sure has.

After crunching the finisher numbers from last weekend’s Florida Ironman 70.3, it was interesting to note that the big boys are feeling the pain too.  Check it out -

2011 – 2372 finishers (last year at Disney World)

2012 – 2175 finishers (New venue with Lance Armstrong hype)

2013 – 1653 finishers

I’m sure their pain is not as sharp as the pain we have felt the past 6 years.  Our summer sprint series triathlons maxed out at 1,200-1,400 participants several years ago.  Now we draw half those numbers.

Remember a few years back when St. Anthony’s Triathlon filled up 5,000 spots in a day?  This year’s race had just over 2400 finishers.

This trend is spreading outside of Florida too.  The grumblings on the race director forums show that while Florida may have been the first state to have this problem, we are not alone.  Many long standing races that have always maxed out participation are no longer filling, or are taking much longer to reach capacity.  Other triathlon events are seeing their numbers slide or become stagnant.

While I still think the sport is healthy and there is growth potential with the events, it is going to be up to the individual race directors to make that happen.  Maybe we just need to blast our athletes with mud and colored dye?