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The Performance Life

Food, Shelter… Racing?

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If you have participated in a road race or triathlon this year, you would never know that the U.S. economy is in its worst condition since the Great Depression. At a time when Americans are slashing spending in all aspects of their lives, attendance is up at marathons, 10K races—even triathlons, where entry fees typically start at $60.

One reason for the boom is the “stay-cation” trend of looking for diversions closer to home rather than incurring expensive travel costs.“If an athlete can get in the car and go and not incur hotel fees, they’re still going to go,” says Jack Weiss, whose Ironhead Race Productions stages events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “But if they have to get on a plane where tickets have doubled in price and then pay for a hotel, they’re going to think twice.”

Running is one of the least expensive sports, with major costs limited to shoes and perhaps a heart rate monitor. Triathlon can be pricey, but for athletes who entered the sport and endured the major upfront costs (bike, etc.) before the recession, their biggest expenses are entry fees.

“At $65 or $75, it’s still a cheap day of entertainment,” says Jim Rainey, whose Georgia Multisports Productions stages nine races in the Peach State. “In tough times, people need a diversion more than ever.”

Philip LaHaye, who stages triathlons in the Tampa Bay area, remembers being a “broke college kid” and still finding a way to race. “As an athlete during economic times like these, you realize how important your training, racing, and competing is,” LaHaye says. “It’s at the core of who you are. Times like these really bring that into focus.”

About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Triathlon, Outdoor Recreation, Heart Rate Monitor, Leisure Time, Travel, Running, Race