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Aging of the IM field
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I was looking at the IMLP start list. It’s not news that the M45-49 AG surpassed the M40-44 AG a couple years ago in size. This was the first time I noticed M50-54 surpassing M40-44 in size. I’m sure it has happened in other races, but this seems notable. Three years ago, the early 40s men were the most crowded AG. Now, as those guys have gotten older, there haven’t been a lot of new entrants to the sport behind them.

Also notable that for slot allocation, we could see races where you need to be top 3 in M40-44 to qualify. A 50 yo could grab what would have once been the fourth slot.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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The amount of people willing to pay $800+ for a race entry is aging...

Those 40yr olds still have kids to put through college and 401(k)s to fund lol
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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I think this is indicative of when many of the current racers started and how few are coming in behind the current 10 year generation (45-55).



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Re: Aging of the IM field [indianacyclist] [ In reply to ]
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This..
The entry for Nice and Frankfurt that came out today is ridiculous. €560!
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Re: Aging of the IM field [TriByran] [ In reply to ]
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The AWA priority price for Des Moines 70.3 is $325!!!!

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Re: Aging of the IM field [Sean H] [ In reply to ]
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They are gradually priming us for prices of $1000 for a full and $500 for a half.

Oceanside tier 4 registration will be nearly $500 after fees.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [indianacyclist] [ In reply to ]
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indianacyclist wrote:
The amount of people willing to pay $800+ for a race entry is aging...

Those 40yr olds still have kids to put through college and 401(k)s to fund lol

Not to mention all of the incidental expenses of racing an IM. For example, most IMs don't allow packet pickup the day before. The extra hotel days (2?) adds enormous cost onto an already expensive trip!
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Sean H] [ In reply to ]
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Sean H wrote:
The AWA priority price for Des Moines 70.3 is $325!!!!

And that was before a $30 service fee & $20 in taxes.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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IMO this has more to do with demographics and generational differences than with folks’ financial situations.

I just bumped into 35-39 AG and I do not see a lot of folks either in my age bracket, or younger (25-29, 30-34) who are interested in the sport.

Folks who would have gone into tris in the past are going into cross-fit, tough mudders, video games or just are traveling/hanging out with friends.

Tris are seen as a mid-life-crisis type undertakings, where in the past you’d buy a sports car now you Lycra-up and get an expensive bike.

Started triathlons to get girls, and continued to be better than people.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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I think both of the observations are correct.

The aging of the "participation generation" seems to be hurting the younger age groups in all participation sports -- even the reasonably priced races.

And silly-high entry fees naturally also skew the demographics of the entry list -- while making IM into a one-and-done bucket list event.

IM needs to take a lesson from golf. With an aging and dying demographic, golf participation has been falling for years. Hundreds of golf courses have gone out of business. A similar wave has begun in triathlon. It's time for the powers at the top of the sport to take measures to turn it around.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [FlashBazbo] [ In reply to ]
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FlashBazbo wrote:
I think both of the observations are correct.

The aging of the "participation generation" seems to be hurting the younger age groups in all participation sports -- even the reasonably priced races.

And silly-high entry fees naturally also skew the demographics of the entry list -- while making IM into a one-and-done bucket list event.

IM needs to take a lesson from golf. With an aging and dying demographic, golf participation has been falling for years. Hundreds of golf courses have gone out of business. A similar wave has begun in triathlon. It's time for the powers at the top of the sport to take measures to turn it around.

Agree, yet wonder if triathlon is still "cool". It used to be a cool / bucket list / bragging rights kind of thing to do. That doesn't seem to be as prevalent as it once was across age groups. There could also be some resentment if you are way healthier than your peer group these days.

Sports these days need to be aware of what has been mentioned - video games - and reinvent themselves virtually. I think we have a better chance getting someone hooked on Zwift than riding on the road. Hopefully the virtual reality experience creates a desire to actually do it outdoors. Or I'm being too optimistic about that happening...

Indoor Triathlete - I thought I was right, until I realized I was wrong.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [FlashBazbo] [ In reply to ]
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I wonder if WTC can really make that change. Are they really doing a lot to attempt to attract new athletes?
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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One of the problems with current society is that the younger generation, as a whole, are not getting the kind of wages that earlier generations got.

Here in Toronto the average wage is pushing $60,000 pa, but I would defy most people to find anyone under 30 earning that. And that level of income is $100,000 shy of the income required to own a house. I had owned 6 houses by the time I was 30 and most of my friends had owned more than one.

What does this do to a sport that with time (which has a value), equipment, travel, and entry fees is fast becoming untenable for many, if they are to establish themselves economically. It's a problem in many sports that have become expensive in terms of time and money.

That the age groups are skewing to the older, established financially, sound populations is just one symptom of what will kill the sport if we don't get smarter.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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I have been in the biggest AG at every IM I've ever done since 2007.

Poon wrote:
I was looking at the IMLP start list. It’s not news that the M45-49 AG surpassed the M40-44 AG a couple years ago in size. This was the first time I noticed M50-54 surpassing M40-44 in size. I’m sure it has happened in other races, but this seems notable. Three years ago, the early 40s men were the most crowded AG. Now, as those guys have gotten older, there haven’t been a lot of new entrants to the sport behind them.

Also notable that for slot allocation, we could see races where you need to be top 3 in M40-44 to qualify. A 50 yo could grab what would have once been the fourth slot.

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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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Liability costs have grown high, and right of way closures spike in costs as population density grows. Race directors aren't gouging prices, it's just expensive.

Triathlon hasn't been cool in a while, and even if that changes, it won't draw new people unless we somehow reverse the vanishing of the middle class.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [IT] [ In reply to ]
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I have a friend that is considerably younger than me, who is in great shape. He’s around 30 and I’m 41. He runs and bought a Peloton. He proudly wears his Peloton tee to the gym. One day I asked him if he ever considered triathlon. It was like I was speaking another language. The idea had never remotely entered his mind space. He had a glossed over look just at a mention. I thought WTF...I realized later that the younger generation 35 and under has very little to no interest in triathlon.

IT wrote:
FlashBazbo wrote:
I think both of the observations are correct.

The aging of the "participation generation" seems to be hurting the younger age groups in all participation sports -- even the reasonably priced races.

And silly-high entry fees naturally also skew the demographics of the entry list -- while making IM into a one-and-done bucket list event.

IM needs to take a lesson from golf. With an aging and dying demographic, golf participation has been falling for years. Hundreds of golf courses have gone out of business. A similar wave has begun in triathlon. It's time for the powers at the top of the sport to take measures to turn it around.

Agree, yet wonder if triathlon is still "cool". It used to be a cool / bucket list / bragging rights kind of thing to do. That doesn't seem to be as prevalent as it once was across age groups. There could also be some resentment if you are way healthier than your peer group these days.

Sports these days need to be aware of what has been mentioned - video games - and reinvent themselves virtually. I think we have a better chance getting someone hooked on Zwift than riding on the road. Hopefully the virtual reality experience creates a desire to actually do it outdoors. Or I'm being too optimistic about that happening...
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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Ironman Cork 2020, 615 Euro (basically $700) after the admin fees.
You may or may not get to swim again for that money.
Oh and to be shuuure, Ireland is fecken expensive to visit.

It's becoming even more of a rich man's game. Or as others say a 1-and-through.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [Poon] [ In reply to ]
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With the proliferation or races, finishing an Ironman doesn't have the same cache it used to. Furthermore, the fact that half or more the people who actually are doing it are old enough to be grandparents has demystified the accomplishment for younger folks. And while the older generation is so fixated on IM's and HIM's, short course racing, which would be more accessible to somebody still in the family formation and career building stage of their life, is struggling to stay afloat.

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Last edited by: gary p: Jul 8, 19 16:37
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Re: Aging of the IM field [jhammond] [ In reply to ]
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jhammond wrote:
indianacyclist wrote:
The amount of people willing to pay $800+ for a race entry is aging...

Those 40yr olds still have kids to put through college and 401(k)s to fund lol


Not to mention all of the incidental expenses of racing an IM. For example, most IMs don't allow packet pickup the day before. The extra hotel days (2?) adds enormous cost onto an already expensive trip!

That's been the case for at least 20 years. Hard to blame it for the changing demographic.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [ericMPro] [ In reply to ]
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ericMPro wrote:
I have been in the biggest AG at every IM I've ever done since 2007.

Poon wrote:
I was looking at the IMLP start list. It’s not news that the M45-49 AG surpassed the M40-44 AG a couple years ago in size. This was the first time I noticed M50-54 surpassing M40-44 in size. I’m sure it has happened in other races, but this seems notable. Three years ago, the early 40s men were the most crowded AG. Now, as those guys have gotten older, there haven’t been a lot of new entrants to the sport behind them.

Also notable that for slot allocation, we could see races where you need to be top 3 in M40-44 to qualify. A 50 yo could grab what would have once been the fourth slot.

Me too. I’ve always been in the largest AG. M35-39, M40-44, M45-49, and next year I move to 50-54.

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Re: Aging of the IM field [jhammond] [ In reply to ]
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jhammond wrote:
indianacyclist wrote:
The amount of people willing to pay $800+ for a race entry is aging...

Those 40yr olds still have kids to put through college and 401(k)s to fund lol

Not to mention all of the incidental expenses of racing an IM. For example, most IMs don't allow packet pickup the day before. The extra hotel days (2?) adds enormous cost onto an already expensive trip!

The hotel issue has always been an issue. It's not new, and thus it is not a valid reason behind the aging demographic.
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Re: Aging of the IM field [HuffNPuff] [ In reply to ]
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HuffNPuff wrote:
jhammond wrote:
indianacyclist wrote:
The amount of people willing to pay $800+ for a race entry is aging...

Those 40yr olds still have kids to put through college and 401(k)s to fund lol


Not to mention all of the incidental expenses of racing an IM. For example, most IMs don't allow packet pickup the day before. The extra hotel days (2?) adds enormous cost onto an already expensive trip!


The hotel issue has always been an issue. It's not new, and thus it is not a valid reason behind the aging demographic.

I think the real problem is you cannot do a local club sprint tri for $20 or a local Olympic tri for $50 anymore. When you could do that, there were plenty of athletes out of college or building your families who could do tris. You need an affordable feeder system to attract young people. The price of a club entry has to be in the range of multiple drinks at the bar. Once you are talking entry fees that are somewhere in between a monthly cell phone bill ( a must have) and a car payment (optional, but more likely to need that), then its hard to get young people to allocate money to this sport, which then means you have no new blood.

I would be interested in slowman's demographics around here on ST. I doubt it is much different. A bunch of middle age upper income white guys posting and spending on this sport (oh, and a few token none white guys, but we fall into the same disposable income range).
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Re: Aging of the IM field [gary p] [ In reply to ]
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gary p wrote:
With the proliferation or races, finishing an Ironman doesn't have the same cache it used to. Furthermore, the fact that half or more the people who actually are doing it are old enough to be grandparents has demystified the accomplishment for younger folks. And while the older generation is so fixated on IM's and HIM's, short course racing, which would be more accessible to somebody still in the family formation and career building stage of their life, is struggling to stay afloat.

I think you nailed it....the future looks dull....
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Re: Aging of the IM field [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
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I remember in the 90s the 30-34 men’s group was by far the largest age group, I recall then looking forward to getting into the 40-44 age group to have a smaller number of competitors, I guess many of us kept doing it(?)
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Re: Aging of the IM field [ericMPro] [ In reply to ]
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ericMPro wrote:
I have been in the biggest AG at every IM I've ever done since 2007.

I think we're pretty much the same age (45). We are 'peak triathlon'.

I think there need to be more high profile short events, to get people into the sport more gradually, without the physical & financial pain. Maybe Ironman could make more of the 5150 distance....(but then you really have to be honest with swim training!). Either way, those of us who started out in the 80s/90s didn't do Tri because it was the popular thing to do! It's just a shame a lot of the smaller/shorter quirky races are dying-off.

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