A Local Triathlon Economy

"The endurance athletes who ran up two mountains in Roanoke's [Virginia] first marathon in 24 years brought with them $350,000 in economic activity, event organizers said…The marathon 'is drawing attention to the world about our valley having this great outdoors'…Organizers said they expect twice as many participants to register for next year's event…'it exposes us to other people outside of the region who will come back to visit or – even better – come live here or open a business here."
The Roanoke Times

Hosting a New River Valley Triathlon in Virginia has been a dream since 2007.  While the event has yet to occur, and it will be very nice when it does happen, the contribution of a single triathlon to regional economic development is only the beginning of revenue generation.  A local triathlon creates a local triathlon economy.

As we mentioned in Doing Business with Triathletes, Set Up Events, a major triathlon production company, describes the business value of "The Coveted Triathlete Demographic."  While I don't meet all the criteria, as a business owner, I would covet me. I spend.

Much of my triathlon spending is public knowledge.  As of the writing of this post, I am the Mayor of The Weight Club and the Blacksburg Aquatic Center in Blacksburg, Virginia on Foursquare, a gelocation application, sort of like Facebook with places.  This is no surprise.  I'm in training for a 2010 sprint triathlon season so I frequent both places regularly to improve my swimming, biking, running and overall strength.   (You're invited to read about Foursquare on Handshake 2.0 if you'd like to know more about our Foursquare experiences.) 

Sprint triathlon gear plus cat I pay $419 for a yearly membership as an individual at The Weight Club. That's over a $1 a day I contribute to the revenue of The Weight Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with 70 employees.

We have a family membership at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center which is more, but I would pay $230 for a yearly membership as an individual.  That's 63 cents per day I contribute to the revenue of the Blacksburg Aquatic Center, a municipal facility funded by tax dollars with 40 employees.

As a triathlete, I create jobs. 

And that's just through athletic facilities memberships.

Don't get me started on how much I spend on triathlon gear.

But "getting started" is an important topic.  How did I get started doing my first sprint triathlon at age 50?  I was inspired by others.  Was I a member of The Weight Club before I was a triathlete?  You bet.  I'm a Foursquare-certified gym rat.  Was I a member of the Blacksburg Aquatic Center? No. Did I join when I became interested in triathlon and then pay an instructor for my first swimming lesson since 1969? Yes.  And did I have a bike? No.  Did I buy one at East Coasters? Yes…

Triathlon has an appeal that gets people started, regardless of age or in what condition they begin.  People training for triathlons, often their first, find each other, call themselves triathletes, and create a triathlon community.  They join athletic facilities and buy bikes… 

Hosting a triathlon in a locale can speed the evolution of a region-enriching local triathlon economy.


Triathlon is one of many athletic endeavors that falls under the category of "multisport." I envsion the New River Valley of Virginia with a multisport destiny.

"We want the New River Valley Triathlon HERE!" That's what organizers and sponsors of the New River Valley Triathlon would welcome hearing from a venue with a pool in the New River Valley.  If you're that venue, please contact the New River Valley Triathlon.

The Business of Feelings
Who's in FRONT? Joe Pugliese


  1. The Dedmon Center at Radford University would be a great swim venue!

  2. Creative possibilities for venues abound! Thank you for your suggestion!

Speak Your Mind