Running, the Gateway Sport to Triathlons for Women Triathletes

Female Triathletes

Running is the gateway sport to triathlons for most women triathletes, according to a study conducted by A Triathlete’s Diary blog, which is underwritten by HJMT Public Relations Inc.  Sixty-five percent of those who filled out the questionnaire said they started as a runner and then decided to tri.

The survey also found that many women in their middle years, tend to get involved in triathlons.

Of the 100+ women surveyed, the majority were between the ages of 45 to 54.  20% were between 54 – 65 years of age. 29% were between 35 – 44. The majority of women who answered the survey were from the northeast, but there were women from the south and the west included in the survey as well.  More than 68% were also married.

Fifty-nine percent of the women had been involved with triathlons for more than three years.  The other half, 41% had been involved in triathlons for less than three years.

PrintForty-two percent of women triathletes started the sport between the ages of 35 – 44 years old.  The motivation for starting triathlon training ranges from overcoming serious illnesses and losing weight to having it on the bucket list and “was bored with just running and wanted to tri.”

One triathlete said, “A lot of recent life changes; kids out of house, relationship breakup, recent sale of house that I had lived in for 20 yrs. Looking to focus on something other than my losses! I decided to try going back to basics – to get in touch with my inner self. To go back to what I always enjoyed doing as a child – running, biking, swimming. I wanted to reclaim the joy in my life! I had a self-image as an athlete, but in truth hadn’t done anything since high school. I found myself questioning that self-image I always had. Getting involved in running & triathlons banished those doubts that had crept in!”

Another triathlete told me, “I quit smoking two packs a day, my husband encouraged me to join a gym since I would gain weight all of the previous times I quit and would restart smoking again. I first started walking then running then saw a local sprint triathlon. Since I was a swimmer as a kid I figured why not. I have been hooked ever since! I’m now 59 years old.”

Interestingly, many of the triathletes had the same feeling of accomplishment when they did a triathlon.  Some of the responses ranged from “the feeling of pushing my body to the limit” to “a sense of accomplishment!”

Although triathlons is an individual sport, most of the women said the camaraderie was important to them. “I love being part of something great and being able to cheer on and encourage those that are having a hard time,” said one triathlete.  Another said, “I enjoy meeting other triathletes & being part of triathlon clubs.”

Nearly 56% had triathlon coaches and the majority of 60% did not have a tri bike to use while competing.  They primarily ride road bikes.

A Triathlete’s Diary is a blog about everything running, swimming and cycling.  The URL is It started as a A Runner’s Diary and when the curator decided to get involved with triathlons changed the name.  Both URL’s point to the same site.

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