Today the Professional Triathlon Union or PTU announced its creation. However, as is all too common in triathlon media and governance, off-road athletes again find themselves significantly ignored. Most notably in all PTU communications and throughout its entire website off-road triathlon is mentioned only twice, using the term “XTERRA”. Heck we don’t even get a picture on the website. Further, of the 17 individuals mentioned as the “Board” or “Staff” none are off-road athletes and only one or two have ever even competed in an off-road triathlon. While the PTU states it looks “forward to increasing the diversity of the Board”, it also states that the first vote for new board members will not occur until the end of 2016.
The PTU shortcomings pertaining to off-road triathletes continue and DirtTRI.com is in the process of writing a critique of the current PTU structure. However, we will acknowledge that this is a positive step for professional triathlon on the whole. That said, we would also mention that this is not the first time a pro triathlon “union” has been attempted. Perhaps this time will see a different outcome.
Find the Professional Triathlon Union press release below, and link to the website HERE.
July 29th 2015
Dear Global Triathlon Media,
We would like to officially introduce ourselves to you as the Professional Triathlon Union (PTU), launching today, July 29th 2015. The PTU is a new global Union representing all professional non-drafting triathletes and working to improve the sport in its entirety to benefit Pro non-drafting triathletes and all stakeholders.
Background: The Union was founded in late 2014 by the following Board of Directors: Jodie Swallow, Rachel Joyce, Helle Frederiksen, Mirinda Carfrae, Meredith Kessler, Mary Beth Ellis, Angela Naeth, Sebastian Kienle, Pete Jacobs, Dirk Bockel, Dylan McNiece, Tim O’Donnell, James Cunnama, Andreas Dreitz and Scott DeFilippis. We look forward to increasing the diversity of the Board as we grow.
Executive Director Rich Allen, a retired British Pro triathlete based in the US, manages business operations, project developments and acts as chief communicator for the athletes. He is supported by an expert volunteer panel, that includes business advisors, legal advisors, financial advisors and retired Pro triathletes, who have helped Rich build the PTU into an efficient Union model.
The PTU have been in equal positive dialogue with WTC, Challenge Family and the ITU to discuss communications and working together in the future. Challenge Family have been extremely supportive and are likely to be the first to announce shortly that they will recognize us in an official capacity. The ITU have also been very receptive. WTC have said that, “at this moment in time they are not ready to add any additional commitment and procedure to their professional athlete infrastructure”, however, they have been supportive and we look forward to building a strong relationship with them down the road.
We have worked very hard on building the foundations of the Union for the past 6 months and moving forward are now focused on athlete recruitment, partnerships and title sponsorship until December, before we embark on developing the sport in 2016.
“Long distance triathlon has been a professional sport for over 30 years and while the amateur side has grown exponentially, it could be said that the professional arena hasn’t changed at all and if anything, has lost its footing and its aura. Imagine where the sport could be, not just the professional side of things, but the sport in its entirety, if a Professional Triathlon Union had been up and running for the last 30 years! Let’s not get 30 years down the track and imagine the same thing. It is time the professionals did their part to help grow this incredible sport of ours, for themselves and for all stakeholders”, said New Zealand Pro Dylan McNeice.
Danish Pro Helle Frederiksen said, “It is an honor to be a part of such a landmark initiative. I feel as a collective group, professional triathletes can aid the global development of the sport. We will be a powerful voice and a great asset to race organizations and the sport on a whole. We must strive to be recognized in all aspects of the sport and successfully achieving this will take time, but I’m confident that long term, membership numbers, recognition, productivity and value of the Professional Triathlon Union will be high.”
“I am delighted to be involved in this exciting endeavor, which is perhaps one of the greatest developments to ever take place in our sport. We look forward to addressing many issues in the professional sport, helping the sport grow in its entirety and building strong working relationships with all stakeholders”, said Executive Director Rich Allen.
We invite you to take a look at our website www.protriunion.com, where we hope you will find answers to many of your questions regarding the introductions and developments we will work towards. In addition we welcome you to contact us for an interview in the near future. Our Executive Director and Board of Directors will be happy to do interviews to answer further questions and for quotes.
-Please contact us through our website for an official interview-
As an integral part of our professional sport we look forward to remaining in very close communications with you. We truly appreciate the support of the global sports media.
Yours in sport,
Professional Triathlon Union.