How Triathlon Clubs Work

How to Start a Triathlon Club

Starting a training group is an attractive alternative to going it alone, but for athletes interested in more than an informal gathering of people with a common goal, there are a few guidelines that can help you through the process.

First, determine the goal of your triathlon club. Will its objective be to help newbies finish their first race? Is it an opportunity for veteran triathletes to sharpen their skills in certain areas? Will it cater to people targeting a specific event, or simply for athletes who live in a certain area?

Triathlon training groups are as varied as the athletes themselves, so establishing which type of racer you're interested in attracting can help. More than three-quarters of all competitors in 2009 competed in sprint-length events, which usually consist of a 500-meter (547-yard) swim, 12-mile (19.3-kilometer) bike ride and a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run [source: USAT]. These are the most popular distances because they are also the most accessible, meaning they attract the most beginners.

Once you've figured out who your target audience is, you should register your group with USAT. Registration runs $50 annually, and association with the sport's governing body has its advantages. For example, your club will be listed on the organization Web site by geography for people interested in joining. You and your club will also be eligible to receive discounts from USAT corporate partners on a range of goods and services from racing equipment to physical therapy. Event-registration discounts are also available for USAT clubs.

USAT also recommends that you purchase insurance for your club. There are risks inherent in any athletic endeavor, but triathlons can be especially hazardous. Bikes and cars sharing the road, throngs of people swimming in open water and the fatigue of day-to-day training can compound the risks.

For clubs with fewer than 41 members, general liability coverage costs $250 a year and underwrites all associates during club activities. For groups larger than 41 members, the premium is $6 multiplied by the number of members. USAT also provides event insurance, which is required for all participants, and can be purchased on an event-by-event basis. Usually this is part of the entry fee.

As a club organizer, it's also recommended that you purchase directors' and officers' liability coverage. This offers protection of personal assets if the organizer is ever found liable for any wrongful act. A $1 million policy can be purchased for $625 annually, and $2 million worth of coverage is available for $925 annually.

For much more in-depth information about how to organize a USAT triathlon training club, read the step-by-step manual.

Next up, we'll look at more benefits of starting your own club.