triathlon and family can mix

Getting Paid To Race

Actually, most of the time, you have to win to get paid.


My twitter feed blew up a couple of weeks ago with #IMLP7th; a publicly funded cash prize for the 7th place finisher at Ironman Lake Placid. The campaign raised $6000, paying the 7th place finisher in both the mens and womens races more than 3rd.

See, Ironman only payed 6 deep at Lake Placid; a total of $25,000. Some people feel this is unfair, albeit, mostly professional triathletes.

While down in San Francisco for Escape from Alcatraz, I came to a realization that race organizers only care about us age groupers for one reason; entry fees. The USAT representative made that abundantly clear by telling us to “stay out of the way of the professionals, they play by different rules.” I finished 30 minutes behind the winner at that race, and when I crossed the line the announcer was still talking about how Andy Potts won and his amazing swim. His interest in the race had already faded.

This year, with the exception of my first race, professionals have been there competing. Honestly, I really could have cared less that they were there. As a participant I don’t get the opportunity to interact with a professional triathlete, except maybe at the “meet the pros” event. As a spectator, you may see them once or twice while they pass. Big whoop.

To become a professional triathlete has to take a lot of dedication and determination. I appreciate that. The time it takes to compete at the highest level in any sport, more specifically three sports, is larger than I could even start to imagine.

Most will also argue that they have to hold down full time jobs to supplement their income because the sponsorships, either product or salary, don’t cover all of their expenses. Again, I appreciate that.

What about the age grouper? Pretty sure we are in the same boat.

Right, so the point I am trying to make is this; I choose my career. Sure, a portion of that choice circled around enjoying what I do, but the bulk of it circled around my ability to provide for myself and those dependent on me. If my career was no longer paying the bills, than I would be hunting for another one that could.

So to the professional triathlete; good on ya, you are living the dream most age groupers envy. Just don’t complain about how much money you make, because compared to how much I have made in my triathlon career, I am pretty sure you win.

Question: What are your thoughts? Would you take the job?

To state, I think the way Ironman dealt with the #IMLP7th was less than professional, that is if you believe everything you read on the internet. Not to recap it in this post, Google it if you want the full story.


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