What is the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO)?
The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) is a not-for-profit entity that supports the body and protects the interests of professional triathletes around the world. The PTO aims to become a professional representative body for triathlon and is modelled on the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) which was founded in the 1920s and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) which was formed in the 1970s.
How is the Professional Triathletes Organisation funded?
In January 2020, The Professional Triathletes Organisation announced a partnership with Crankstart Investments, the investment foundation of British venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz KBE. The Crankstart Foundation also notably sponsors The Booker Prize. As a result of this investment, the PTO announced its inaugural event: The Collins Cup. The Collins Cup will be held 29-30th May 2020 at the x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia, and there will be over $2,000,000 in prize money for the event.
Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented “The Collins Cup will be a true celebration of both the history and the future of the sport we love so much, and we look forward to hosting the event and engaging the entire triathlon community.”
Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community.”
Under its partnership, the PTO and Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits generated by operations. Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart Investments, commented “The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – the top forty male and female triathletes in the world. A major part of the attraction of the PTO is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business.”
What are the PTO World Rankings?
The PTO World Rankings is a first-of-its-kind ranking technology to measure the world’s greatest half and full distance professional triathletes. It is a worldwide benchmark of consistent excellence in triathlon, and will be used to determine the automatic qualifying places for The Collins Cup.
The PTO World Rankings has a proprietary formula that does not favour any particular series of races or geographical area, but instead measures talent and achievement based on the results of an athlete no matter where and when they choose to race.
The PTO in association with TRiRating.com, has analysed each race course to determine the theoretical Ideal Time that the top ranked athlete would likely achieve. Using proprietary algorithms, this Ideal Time is then adjusted based on the conditions of the race day to determine the Adjusted Ideal Time (AIT). An athlete’s PTO World Ranking points for his or her race will then be based on their race time set against the Adjusted Ideal Time.
If an athlete equals the AIT for any eligible race, they receive 100 world ranking points. If an athlete is faster than the AIT, they are awarded an additional point or fraction of a point for each 0.15% by which they beat the AIT. If they are slower than the Adjusted Ideal Time, they will lose an additional point or fraction of a point for every 0.15% slower.
Athletes are ranked based on the aggregate number of world ranking points they have earned for their four best races over a 24-month period preceding the date of calculation. There is a 5% bonus for an athlete’s best full distance race and a 10% deduction for points earned for a race that falls outside the most recent 12 months preceding the date of calculation.
What is The Collins Cup?
The Collins Cup is modelled after The Ryder Cup in golf and was originally announced back in 2017 to be part of Challenge Roth 2018, a huge annual feature in the triathlon calendar. The inaugural event was pushed back and is now announced to take place in May 2020.
The Collins Cup was inspired by and named after Judy and John Collins, who 40 years ago were instrumental in establishing the sport of triathlon by inaugurating a long distance event on the idyllic shores of Hawaii, where they were stationed while John was a Commander in the US Navy. Inspired by their recent experience in short distance triathlon in California, they designed a long distance, around-the-island event in Hawaii, by adding a long bicycle leg to existing swimming and running events. The winner was to be considered the best all-round athlete. This was also the inspiration for Ironman Triathlon.
Since then, both male and female triathletes have established themselves as some of the fittest athletes on the planet. From its earliest days, the competition has included men and women racing the same distance, over the same course, on the same day for equal prize money. This has always been an important principle of the Collins’ and the cornerstone of the philosophy of the Professional Triathletes Organisation.
How The Collins Cup works
There are three teams: USA, Europe, and Internationals.
Each team has six men and six women athletes. Of the six, four are selected based on the PTO World Rankings. The remaining two are selected by the team captains. The Team Captains are Mark Allen and Karen Smyers for the US, Normann Stadler and Chrissie Wellington for Europe, and Craig Alexander, Simon Whitfield, Erin Baker and Lisa Bentley for the Internationals.
An athlete from each team will fight it out against their opponents in an individual race of three athletes. There are twelve separate races in all, staggered ten minutes apart. For each of the twelve races, the winner is awarded 3 points, second place is awarded 2 points and third place is awarded 1 point.
In addition, athletes will be awarded bonus points of ½ point for every two minute margin by which they beat their opponents in their respective races. A maximum of six minutes margin per race can earn a team a crucial 1½ bonus points.
The team with the most points wins and will lift The Collins Cup.
Mike Reilly is a legend among the triathlon community and thousands of triathletes around the world will have heard him announce those immortal words "You are an IRONMAN!"
We sat down with Mike to talk all things triathlon and find out more about a man who has been at the heart of the triathlon world for decades.
You're best known to triathletes around the world as 'the voice of IRONMAN'. How did you first get into announcing?
I was asked to pick up a microphone at a running event. I went to watch since I couldn't run and the race director asked me to announce.
You have been at the heart of the triathlon world for decades. What are your thoughts on the way triathlon and the racing scene has changed over the years?
It's changed with technology, coaching, nutrition, everyone has gotten smarter with training and recovery. But we have been constant since the beginning and have not changed as it is still swim/bike/run! Plus the distances of IRONMAN remain the same.
This may be a tough one: what has been the most memorable event that you've announced at/attended and why?
There isn't just one but a few stand out. IRONMAN Hawaii just a month after 9/11 when American Tim DeBoom won. Paula Newby-Fraser breaking 9:00 hours going 8:55 which was a first for a woman. And every age grouper that has overcome incredible odds to even get to an IRONMAN start line!
You have been an important part of several huge ventures over the years (Road Runner Sports, RACEPLACE, Active.com to name a few). What has been the highlight of your career so far?
After all the great businesses I've been a part of, the highlight of my career happens at every start line of an IRONMAN I am at. Knowing 2,500 dreams are going to come true that day cannot be topped!
What would you say makes IRONMAN so special and different from other sporting and endurance events?
Because it pulls out something in people they didn't know they had, and when they discover it their lives are changed forever.
Another tough one: Which is your favorite IRONMAN race and why?
For the answer to that, you'll have to check page 221 of my book.
Which pro triathletes do you think are the ones to watch over the next few years? Anyone that you think might surprise us?
Nothing the pros do surprises me; they compete and raise their levels of performance at every event. Plus, we all probably have no idea who that top pro will be in 5 years. Who knew 2 years ago that Gustav Iden would win the 70.3 World Championship this year?
On a more personal side, which has been your favorite race to compete in over the years and why?
Any century bike ride.
What advice would you give to new triathletes and anyone who might be thinking about doing an IRONMAN in the future?
Just sign up, then go join a triathlon club, get a coach and get out on the road. Live by the manta "Excuses are invalid".
Who inspires you?
It was announced today that USA Triathlon and the Professional Triathletes Organisation have joined forces with Challenge North America to be part of its iconic Challenge Daytona race at Daytona International Speedway on December 4th, 5th and 6th. The three-day triathlon festival will attract athletes from around the world to compete at the “World Centre of Racing” and will feature an array of different events, including age-grouper sprint and middle-distance events, junior challenges, a Pro-Am relay and will culminate with a PTO Middle Distance World Championship Race with a $1,000,000 prize purse for the world’s top professional triathletes.
William Christy, CEO of Challenge North America said, “In often a divided world, triathlon has been a unifying force for athletes across the globe. We come together to compete as a family of global athletes. The global pandemic has displaced athletes and cancelled races and now more than ever, our world needs to unite. Our festival allows us to cheer and compete for a shared cause.”
Charles Adamo, PTO Chairman, said “The PTO is pleased to be able to work with the USA Triathlon and Challenge Daytona to support the triathlon community to provide race opportunities for athletes. Since many professional events have been cancelled and some races rescheduled without a professional prize purse, the PTO is committing $1,000,000 of prize money for the PTO Middle Distance World Championship.”
In addition, the PTO Championships on December 6th, the Challenge Daytona Festival weekend will include a wide array of events catering to athletes of all ages and abilities. The event weekend is anticipated to host the following events:
- PTO Middle Distance World Championships
- Sprint and Middle-Distance Triathlons
- Junior Challenge kids’ race
- Pro Am Relay Race
- 5K/10K run/walk events
- Relay categories
- Duathlon and Aquabike events
The top six male and female finishers in each Middle-Distance Triathlon age group will qualify for entry in The Championship, to be held in May 2021 at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.
Zibi Szlufcik, Challenge Family President of the Board, commented, “While there is still uncertainty associated with the effects of the global pandemic, we know that planning, preparation and hope must continue for the triathlon community. Our teams are busy making the necessary preparations for what we all hope will be a tribute to our sport.”
About Challenge North America
Challenge North America is led by athletes to enhance race experience for athletes and their families. Their mission is to advance the sport with family-friendly, professionally managed and family inspired races for all ages and all race abilities. Challenge North America is extending the legacy of Challenge Family to the North American triathlon market. With the experience of almost 40 full and middle distances in 26 different countries, Challenge North America has founded a new hallmark event at the iconic Daytona International Speedway, home of “The Great American Race”—the Daytona 500, and voted “Best New Race” 2018 by Triathlete Magazine.
About Challenge Daytona
Are you ready to swim, bike, and run at the “World Centre of Racing”? From December 4th- 6th, 2020, Daytona International Speedway will welcome triathletes and triathlon fans from around the world to Challenge Daytona. Named “Best New Race” 2018 by Triathlete Magazine, the entire festival of events will take place at the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, home of “The Great American Race”—the Daytona 500.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon in the United States, as well as duathlon, aquathon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and para-triathlon. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multi-sport organisation in the world.
In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
About The Professional Triathletes Organisation
The Professional Triathletes Organisation is a not-for-profit entity representing the body of professional triathletes and seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who strive to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who are a part of the triathlon community.
Sundried is an independent UK business that was founded by entrepreneur Daniel Puddick. We encourage the growth of small businesses and want to empower consumers to choose ethical companies rather than defaulting to multi-national corporations and faceless conglomerates.
We spoke with 'sweat expert' and founder of electrolyte supplement brand Precision Hydration Andy Blow to talk about building a successful business off the back of a true passion and learning how to balance work with life and travel.
In a nutshell, what is the story of Precision Hydration? What motivated you to develop the idea?
As an athlete (I used to race triathlon at a decent level) I really suffered in the heat in places like Kona or even in southern Europe. I'd often get severe cramps and drastically under-perform when compared with races in cooler conditions. Eventually, I learned that as well as sweating a lot, I lose a lot of sodium in my sweat (about 2-3 x the average) and once I'd corrected for this in my fluid and salt intake in races it was like night and day for me. I was able to do much, much better in long, hot races from then on.
As I was also working as a sports scientist and coach back then I was very interested in the physiology behind what was going on and started to look into it to see if what I'd learned might also help other athletes. This gradually lead me into the world of sweat testing, sweat testing equipment, and eventually also hydration products. From that process, the business that is now Precision Hydration emerged.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up this business?
Probably a lack of experience or any sort of training in running a 'proper' business. Whilst I'd run a small consultancy business, with a single partner, running a larger operation where we needed to coordinate manufacturing, sales, marketing, staff and invest quite a bit of money to get off the ground was a bit of a baptism of fire.
How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
I'm not sure I always do. However, a key thing I've learned in the last few years is that balance does not have to mean that everything is 'balanced' all of the time. I enjoy (and find it productive) to work very hard for prolonged periods but I have started to recognise that I then have to take some extended breaks to recover and recharge. In the last 4 years I've taken most of December off each year, for example, and gone abroad with my family and this has worked really well. I have also become a dad twice in the last 5 years and making time for my kids has been an important catalyst to change my lifestyle. My office is also now ~800m from home whereas I used to have quite a long commute and this has really helped.
What's been the most exciting part of developing Precision Hydration?
At first, it was the travel that running the business demanded. We're incredibly fortunate to work with many top professional sports teams in the UK and USA in particular so I get to go on the road quite a lot and see some cool places and meet some amazing people. I've spent a lot of time in LA, New York and most places in-between and that has been a great buzz. However, more recently as the PH team has expanded it is more about the challenge of building a long-term, sustainable business that employs some great people and is a fantastic place to work. That is what excites me now.
What does the future hold for Precision Hydration?
In the next few years, we're planning to do much more research into all aspects of sweat, hydration and performance as it is still an area of science that is not fully understood. We are employing someone full-time in a research role and to work with a top University in the UK to achieve this. The aim is that the outputs from this role will inform how we improve our current products, guidelines for usage and give us ideas for new products in the future as well.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Back yourself, with your own money whenever possible. 'Skin in the game' is critical. Early on, try lots of small things out, discard those that don't work and double down hard on those that do. Listen to the advice of others, but decide what you think you should do and then commit 100% to it. Read a lot (start with 'Shoe Dog' if you've not read it already). Carve out time to just sit and think on a regular basis. Get comfortable with uncertainty. Prioritise customer service.
- Coffee or tea? Coffee, strong with a dash of cream.
- Summer or winter? Summer
- Ocean or mountain? Mountains
- UK or abroad? UK (as long as I get to go abroad a few times a year. And don't get me started on Brexit...)
- Sweet or savoury? Savoury
From racing disasters to great achievements, Ian talks to us about life as a Team GB Age-Group triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, even as a child I was competitive, playing football for many years as a goal keeper. I then moved into running in 2011.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I moved to triathlon in 2012 to add some variety to my training.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race so far is the Outlaw Holkham Half. We were blessed with hot weather, the race venue was beautiful, and the event was meticulously well organised.
And your proudest achievement?
Competing in the 2017 European Triathlon Sprint Championships in Austria, and more recently qualifying for the 2019 ITU World Sprint Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My biggest racing disaster so far was in one of my first races when I crashed my bike at the dismount line due to my shoe coming off the pedal when I removed my foot ready for dismount. Nevertheless, I finished the race, albeit covered in road rash and a torn trisuit!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I carry on and never give up.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Set your own realistic goals and try not to feel pressurised by others
What are your goals for 2019?
Competing in the ITU World Triathlon Sprint Championships in Lausanne, and the Royal Windsor Triathlon.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from Tim Don, an elite triathlete who has been competing for many years and has recently fought back from extreme injury to race at Kona.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The ethical ethos of Sundried and its devotion to charities, plus the environmentally friendly use of recyclable material.