The Endurance Sports Coalition, a coalition of endurance sports industry participants advocating for COVID-19 relief, has grown to more than 475 members across the running, triathlon, multi-sport, obstacle course and cycling event industries.
The group was forged by Spartan, Tough Mudder, Ironman, Rock & Roll Marathon Series, Running USA, USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and imATHLETE/EnMotive.
Across the more than 475 members, 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 is seeking relief, due to the immediate suspension of events across the nation, due to social distancing and quarantine impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort has gained the support of U.S. Senator for Arizona 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.
“30 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.”
“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 provide 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 ready to host events for participants 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 are an even greater number of freelance, part-time and temporary employment opportunities across the organizations.
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. More information is available at join.endurancesportscoalition.org.
Photo courtesy Endurance Sports Coalition