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Multisport participation appears to be on the rise

"Since 2016, we have seen a modest overall annual growth in participation of about 1-5 per cent over the past two years," says Phil Dale, the Executive Director of Triathlon Ontario.

There was a time, not too long ago, when triathlon and multisport growth was in the red. “Triathlon participation in Ontario started to decline between 5-10 per cent annually in the 2013 season and lasted through to 2016,” says Phil Dale, Executive Director of Triathlon Ontario.

The swim at Multisport Canada Niagara Falls Barrelman. Photo: Brad Reiter.

“2012, particularly the disappointing London Olympic performances, saw the beginning of the decline,” says Dale. “Olympic success or potential success is critical for a sport’s organic growth.”

Related: Duathlete to triathlete: Triathlons are actually easier

From 2008 to 2012, it was Simon Whitfield’s and Paula Findlay’s success that drove interest from the general public and corporate sponsors. “For example, CBC broadcasted an ITU WTS (International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series) race pretty much every weekend during the season, but that ended after the London Olympics,” says Dale.

Paula Findlay wins ITU WCS Madrid – Sunday June 5, 2011. Photo: Delly Carr / ITU

“There was also the rise of pseudo endurance events like Tough Mudder that gave people another option for a bucket list experience,” says Dale.

Related: Triathlete to duathlete: Why you should do a duathlons

However, since 2016, triathlon and multisport participation seem to be on the rise. “Since then, we have seen a modest overall annual growth in participation of about 1-5 per cent over the past two years,” says Dale. “Despite a decline in the number of events when compared to 2013.”

The start of Multisport Canada’s Gravenhurst Olympic Triathlon. Photo: Zoomphoto.ca

Related: How to move up to a sprint triathlon

The reasons for multisport growth in Ontario are numerous. Here are a few observations:

Related: Why a runner should try triathlons

Other multisport events to try

It’s important to realize triathlon isn’t the only multisport event. “If you’re willing to look outside the box, there are some great events out there that won’t take all day and break your budget,” says Daniel Clarke, TMC contributor and professional triathlete.

2017 World Multisport Championships in Penticton, BC.

What can you do in the winter?

New to triathlon? Are you looking to stay sharp over the winter? Then, an indoor triathlon is for you. “Indoor tri’s are an awesome workout – they last 45-60 minutes, and they’ll really get your heart rate going,” says Clarke.  

Related: Why you should do an indoor triathlon

Not only are indoor triathlons a great introduction to the sport – taking place in a controlled environment. “They’re also quick and effective,” says Clarke. “‘I’ve never done an indoor tri that’s been over an hour twenty from start to finish.  You can easily be in and out of there in two hours.”