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Who really 'runs' triathlon in the UK?

The Market.

i.e. the punters who pay their money and then recommend the sport to friends and colleagues who then go out and buy the gear from the retailers who push the promoters to put on more and bigger events which draws media coverage and local interest which attracts more punters who agree to pay higher entry fees.

I'm not a member of the BTF and don't know anybody who is and don't know what they do. They probably have more clout in the elite/olypian field of triathlons but that's a very small percentage of the sport. The Retailers/Promoters/Triathletes unofficially call the shots by the process called 'supply and demand'.


  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    I am a member of the BTF,and the members could have a say in its running if they could be bothered to turn up at the AGM and vote in their numbers.

    But it is the sponsers and race organisers who run the sports,with HEALTH AND SAFETY ,and huge insurance premiums incase some gets wet in the swim and sues the organisers only the bigger companies get involved and consequently have a huge say in the goings on IF THEY COULD BE BOTHERED TO GO TO THE agm.. apparrently in 2002 the majority of UK triathletes voted to have the HIMUK moved to the south coast for 2003 the same year as TRIUK OPENED THE LARGEST STORE AND BECAME A MAJOR SPONSER.OK I may be a NORTHENER who hates travelling.A large number of races that were once run by clubs are now run by organisations who can finance the insurance and have the HaS and risk assesment in place and consequently can say who,what,when and where.

    The BTF unfortunately seems to benefit those that befits its own ideals,that is the elites etc,years ago the BTA as it was then could provide great deals in insurance,both bike and personal,travel and events,now it seems only the latter.

    How is the new book getting on Mr C.
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I think it is a bit hasty to write off the worth of the BTF. After all, for all of those of us that have been coached in clubs by qualified tri coaches, it would have been the BTA/BTF that organised the coach education courses.

    The BTF is also responsible for development, especially at the junior level. There are BTF development officers starting up new clubs, coaching in schools and running training camps. To me, increasing the level of participation and the profile of the sport is a worthwhile task. I also know that one of my local clubs was given £1000 by the BTF to help develop itself last year.

    I don't think that because the BTF are not visible at races it means that they are not driving the sport forwards.

  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    I joined the BTF before I did my first race as I wanted the car sticker, actually I knew I would enjoy triathlon and figured that I could at least support the sport in some way by joining, after all the race organisers for the events I then competed in weren't putting the events on for free or for the love, it's a business.

    As to who runs British Triathlon.

    We do.

    We train, we spend (some more than others) and we race, mostly against ourselves unless you are Elite (the only way I'll get that badge is by digging out the computer gain) or an age grouper, everything else around us is driven by us, if the people weren't wanting to race, in the numbers they do and train so they can race, then the companies that profit from us woudn't exist.

    Advances in technology is driven by the need for shiny shiny and deep pockets, in the end though we all benefit.

    Just my 0.02 USD
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I have to say Conehead, I disagree. I don't see how retailers are the driving force behind triathlon. Sure they sell us all our gear for a tidy profit, but coming back to my point before; do they put their hands in their pockets to aid development, run courses, oversee media coverage, help oversee elite level athletes, assist with equality in the sport?

    I do agree that for the average person, membership may seem a little pointless. I joined purely to support the organization that runs my sport and because it covers me to coach. But I don't see how the retailers are the driving force behind triathlon any more than JJB Sports are the driving force behind sport in the UK.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    As a sporting organisation the BTF does a pretty good job, havingthe benefit of being a 'young' sport helps.

    I have contact with the LTA..what a bunch of blazers they are, all that funding and only 1, yes 1 tennis palyer that has come thu the ranks to get into the top 100, there are many many positions thee taken up by schmoozing blazer wearers, I hear swimming was not much better intil recently. So back to the point, read the BTF magazine, see the coach development, the disability athlete development, the youth development, its not perfect, but it could be worse.

    If retailers are running the show, then economically we may be in the pooh soon & besides when was the last time you saw a good range of kids equipment at a Tri retailer? Or a range of adapted for disability kit?

  • It's impossible to pick out one particular group or organisation that 'run' the sport. No such group exists. As I said before, 'market forces' run the show, which means a wide circle of bodies who are all of equal and mutual benefit to each other. If one part of the circle decides to lose interest then the whole pack of cards comes down.

    So . . . nobody 'runs' the sport, however we all keep it running . . . a bit like communism, only it seems to work better, just don't start electing any presidents.

  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    alot of sports,particularly minority sports have central organisations which o some people seem like an 'organisational mafia',until you actually get involved,two examples are the BMC in climbing and the FRA for fell running,but until you go to their AGM and realise that you can get on the committee very easily have a good input into how the sport is delt with.The FRA had a big spat with British Athletics and a couple of people got it sorted by getting its members involved.Yes the sponsers have a huge input because of the costs but get involved in the organisation and YOU could be running the BTF.There may be 20000 involved in triathlon but how many of you have actually marshalled,helped at the feed stations,stood at a wet and windy street corner and have 200 people go past with only a handful saying ''cheers mate,you are doing a great job''.

    What runs the BTF is totally influenced by money,and those people willing to get involved.

    oh and as to the entry fee for London,I would not pay £120 to race in London and swim with alot of turds,and I am not talking about my fellow competitors.
  • with the near collapse of the global financial system could sponsors pull out of events and events be cancelled? If there was no major sponsor for London Tri, Windsor, would they still go ahead?

    Can't see that happening, some of the smaller events may be perhaps discontinued, but the medium to large events will still grow I think, and the sponsors will be in more need than ever of getting publicity and income. As for the BTF, maybe they would have greater recognition, and hence greater public participation if they showed up at some of the big events with a stall to show people what they do and why they are needed and so encourage more people to get involved with them. For the majority of us they are a faceless organisation who we only think about when we have to stump up an extra fiver everytime we race - hardly a positive impression!

    No, I wouldn't pay £120 to race London, and yes, I always make a point of smiling and saying thanks to all the race marshals I pass, unpaid volunteers are another wheel in the cog without whom we couldn't race.

  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    Interesting points indeed. I think it comes down to how we individually percieve the "running of the sport". To me the development etc that I have already spoken about is done mostly by the BTF, and I think they do a good job; although being a new sport with suprisingly little money to throw at some areas I think they could improve. To me this is the driving force behind the future of the sport.

    As for the running of events, I think the companies such as Human Race and Big Cow do a great job, probably better than the BTF could do given limited resources. I've been involved with events/races run by the BTF and they do a decent job, but it has all been at development level, introducing kids to the sport. This includes alot of volunteer work from people within the regions. To me, leaving the BTF to run the grass roots and elite and the companies the calender races works well.

    I do agree with comments that the BTF is somewhat faceless and would do well to be represented at events. I think it is a shame that more active athletes don't join the BTF to help support it, but if the perception is that all you get is a car sticker and a couple of quid off races then I can see why there are less members.

  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    I do not think that the BTF is faceless,it is just that it faces the wrong way.As sport is now a business and business depends on success,victory equates to money which leads to success to publicity to increase in participation and purchase of sporting goods as worn by etc etc.Totally agree that the BTF should be more prominant at races,and also that qualifying for the British elite team should include participating in a number of races on British soil,so younger athletes and older ones get a chance to meet people that they only see in the magazines or via tv,ask questions ,the ones who I have had the chance to meet were more than happy to chat,which would runin conjunction of the BTF having a stall at race meetings.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Ref presence at events, I was amazed at the lack of a stand at the Natinal Club Relays, usualyy there, not this year..being a national & err club event it seems a no brainer to me.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    I'm one of the 70% belonging to nothing. The discounts I would get on race fees would not come near the £51 I would have to pay to join the BTF. The rest of the membership benefits on the BTF website look all well and good, but I'd rather put the money towards a trisuit, or a turbo trainer, or better bike lights, or new cycling trousers, etc etc.

    Please feel free to suggest that I am wrong about this!
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