Triathletes can be divided into four segments based on experience and motivation, according to a study released at the Triathlon America conference at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, CA.

Those include: the newcomer, the practitioner, the veteran and the lapsed triathlete. These segments define a triathlete’s willingness to travel, the types of races they prefer, what keeps them in the sport and what they hope to get out of their participation, concludes the study, which was prepared by Active Network and Triathlon America.

“We believe this report will provide race organizations better direction into how to re-engage lapsed athletes, support the growing segment of female participants, and involve a triathlete’s friends and family in the triathlon experience in order to increase participation,” said Dave Alberga, chief executive officer at Active Network. “Additionally, it will provide brands targeting this growing audience with information not readily available until now.”

Alberga will discuss more detailed findings in a presentation today at the Triathlon America conference. Highlights of this discussion will include:

  • Women continue to be a key growth component in the sport – 55% of newcomers identified in the study are female. 

  • Triathlons are addictive – 96% of current triathletes indicate they plan on participating in another triathlon. 

  • Triathletes are well-educated – 90% of triathletes have attained some level of higher education. 

  • Family support is important – 43% of all triathletes travel with their family. 

  • There is a “tribe” mentality – triathlon appeals to a core group of consumers with common motivations and beliefs.

Active Network surveyed more than 1,700 members of its Lifestyle Panel to better understand the behaviors, attitudes and motivations of both new and experienced triathletes.