Updated: Apr 26, 2022
As the last lingering shadows of the global pandemic wane and a new threat to humanity arise in Europe, it may seem trivial to even focus on the future of much of anything. Yet, as a person of enduring hope for the future and for those who will inhabit that future, I seek to resist the urge to despair.
In many ways, amid the pandemic crisis humanity is leaving, even in the face of a new and perhaps more significant crisis threatening global order and peace, the faint signs of a renewed desire for human unity seem to be emerging for much of the world community.
It is against this undeniably gloomy backdrop that the rays of hope still faintly shine, refusing to be extinguished.
In 2020 as the COVID pandemic was truly hitting its global stride, many in our sport wondered out loud whether our sport and many others could survive. In 2021, for many of us closely connected to the business of our sport, we barely survived the sheer volume of races that returned. Such is the enduring spirit of the multisport community.
Whether your focus is the short course or long, draft illegal or draft legal, we are an endurance sports community accustomed to bearing the fruit of resilience in the face of adversity.
Over the past few days, I attended the Endurance Exchange virtual conference. I observed in the sessions I attended that the challenges that the pandemic brought to our sport have actually given birth to new and exciting innovations. The landscape of the multisport world is changing and changing rapidly.
Super League continues to introduce new and exciting formats, including the Arena Games that are creating pathways for our sport to become more spectator-friendly. The PTO is making strides in advocating for equity and sustainability for professional triathletes. They have dreams of emulating the PGA Tour and Nascar through image-building and increasing a supportive fan base. The great news is that multisport will never be quite the same.
USA Triathlon’s increasing emphasis on inclusion and accessibility for multisport and support for new racing formats like Gravel Triathlon will spur further innovation and growth.
There is hope for our sport, and though it is only a small ray of hope against the backdrop of current events, it is a sign of the resilience of the human character. When we could have simply given up because of the loss of much of the 2020 racing season, instead, we set to work and doubled down on hope for the future. The reward is a more unified, growing, healthy, and vital sport, better than it was before.
The world would be a better place if it took a lesson from those of us who held onto hope and unity when things seemed at their worst in 2020.
Mark Turner (aka Coach MarkT) is a Houston, Texas Metro area based Coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN University Certified Coach,VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and Mental Strengths Performance Coach. Coach MarkT absolutely loves coaching and helping the athletes achieve their dreams. MarkT is also a US Veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. In addition to endurance sports, his interests include history, science fiction, and cooking. He can be reached at markt@teamMPI.com.