The Business of Long-Distance Triathlon: A Playbook for Growth

All in a Day’s Work: $30,000 vs. $3 million

At 6:40 a.m. on Sunday, July 5th, pro triathletes Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf toed the line of the shore of the Langener Waldsee in Germany. They were there to compete in Ironman Frankfurt—along with 65 other professional and 3,000 recreational triathletes from all over the world. Like the better-known Ironman World Championship, held each October, in Kona, Hawaii, the Frankfurt race was a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.   

Frodeno crossed the line victorious 7 hours and 49 minutes later—a blistering pace. Ryf dominated in kind, taking the women’s field in 8 hours and 51 minutes. Both broke course records, on a day when temperatures hit the 100 degree mark, and 35% of the registered athletes did not finish the race.

For their efforts, Frodeno and Ryf each won $30,000. Runners up Sebastian Kienle and Julia Gajer collected $15,000 a piece. The prize purse for the race was $150,000, and the balance of the money—$60,000—was divvied up between the remaining top ten male and female pros.

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