A) ARE THERE TRAINING GROUPS/CENTERS TO TRAIN WITHIN CANADA?
Canada has a National Training Centre (NTC) in Victoria, BC as well as Regional Training Centres in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Guelph and Montreal. In addition there are key training squad in Penticton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Hamilton, Ottawa and Fredericton. Each of these locations currently has elite coaches and training squads. New High Performance Centres and Squads are being added on a regular basis.
B) WHAT IS THE TRADITIONAL SEASON FOR A TRIATHLETE?
Athletes enrolled in University traditionally swim and/or run for their school during Sept-April season, then race triathlons during the May-August season. Athletes who are not in University/College generally race a longer season that starts in March (in Australia or Mexico) runs through May-August (North American races and Europe) and finishes with late season races in Mexico, USA or Asia Sept-October.
The elite race divisions are separated into three categories (Junior (16-19), Under-23, and Elite (can be any age)). The ITU World Championship has all three categories for men and women. Generally athletes progress from Junior, to U23 category, and finally Elite.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has three levels of elite race series:
A) Continental Cup Races
B) World Cup Races
C) World Triathlon Series (WTS) Races
Continental Cup races are the lowest level of elite racing. Typically, younger or developing athletes first race in the Continental Cup Series before progressing to the World Cup and WTS level. The WTS is the highest level of ITU racing in the world, with the biggest prize money, live television and they are major spectator events. Athletes need to accumulate ITU Points and a high ranking in order to be eligible for entry into World Cup and WTS races.
C) SPONSORSHIPS – GRANTS – PRIZE MONEY
Athletes are entitled to their own sponsorships (bike, shoes, etc) and have the potential to benefit from National Team sponsors should they reach that level. Each race has prize money attached to it, and the athlete is entitled to keep 100% of the prize money they win. Triathlon Canada may provide travel subsidies, training camp subsidies, coaching subsidies and living allowances to athletes. Athletes may also be eligible for numerous funding opportunities from various programs such as Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program, Provincial Funding programs, etc. Top elite athletes can make $200 000.00 - $400 000.00 through a combination of grants, prize money & sponsorships. It should be noted that this figure is skewed to the top elites who are performing at an international elite level. During the first few years of elite racing, athletes should expect a modest total yearly budget until they are very competitive on the elite ITU scene.
D) CAREER DURATION FOR A TRIATHLETE
Two-time Olympic Medallist Simon Whitfield and other elite triathletes continue to race into their late 30s and early 40s (if they can stay injury free). The average retirement age of an elite triathlete is in their early 30s. Athletes as young as 18-19 have made past Olympic Games Teams (with women generally making their first Olympic Games Team at a younger age than men).
Many athletes choose to move into longer Half & Full Ironman Race Distances after an 8-10 year Standard Distance career. Some athletes find they can move their speed up to longer race distances after they have raced for 8-10 years at Standard Distances.
—Kirsten Sweetland hits WTS start line for first time in two years, finishing 17th—