With the immediate suspension of events across the nation due to social distancing and quarantine impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the endurance sports landscape formed the Endurance Sports Coalition to advocate for relief. The grassroots coalition creates one united voice for the endurance sports industry, which accounts for 50,000 events annually, 500,000 jobs, and provides health and fitness experiences to 30 million Americans. The coalition plans to educate Congress and the White House about the need for relief and support for operators of endurance sporting events and their supporting industries.
The Companies Leading the Way
Forged by Spartan, Tough Mudder, IRONMAN, Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, Running USA, USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and imATHLETE + EnMotive, the coalition currently has more than 475 members across the running, triathlon, multi-sport, obstacle course, and cycling event industries. The effort has gained the support of U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an accomplished triathlete.
"The endurance sports industry supports thousands of jobs and has helped millions of Americans lead healthier lives. I am proud to see IRONMAN’s commitment to communities across our country continue during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Sinema.
The endurance sports industry provides billions of dollars in annual economic impact to major cities and small towns alike, filling hotel rooms and restaurants and supporting sporting goods and specialty retailers. Thousands of charitable organizations also rely on events as critical fundraising platforms.
'Everyone Is Struggling Right Now'
"Thirty million Americans rely on fitness events as a means to transform their lives and maintain their physical fitness, and a date on the calendar provides a goal,” said Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan. "Everyone is struggling right now, and many of these events, which have long and broad histories, are organized by small businesses that are at risk of disappearing. Even more crucial is support for the 500,000 people who are mostly out of work or have had salaries reduced as a result of the pandemic."
'Our Obligation As Industry Leaders'
“This is a time unlike any in our lives. We feel it is our obligation as industry leaders to advocate for a path forward that enables our more than 450 organizations and half a million people to withstand the threat posed by COVID-19,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO of The IRONMAN Group. "There is uncertainty around health, the economy, and sport. We don’t know when racing will start again, but we know the positive economic impact endurance sports provides to our host cities and the transformative physical and mental impact participating in sport provides to our millions of athletes."
With no clear end in sight to bans on mass gatherings and social distancing measures, it is critical to ensure that organizations can continue to retain their staff, pay their suppliers, and be poised to host events for their participants again once it is safe to resume group activities. The endurance sports industry largely comprises small businesses, many of whom are longstanding pillars of their local communities. In addition to sustaining 500,000 jobs, there is an even greater number of freelance, part-time, and temporary employment opportunities across the organizations.
Join the Cause
The Endurance Sports Coalition is open to every event organizer, race director, coach, trainer, and the full array of suppliers and service providers who support the industry. To join the cause or learn more, click here.