Convincing Friends to Race!

Ryan, Caity, Stephanie, and I at Buzzard's Bay Triathlon in September

Ryan, Caity, Stephanie, and I at Buzzard’s Bay Triathlon in September

I started doing triathlons my sophomore year of high school and I always had to train by myself since I didn’t know any triathletes my age. Clearly this was before I discovered YoungTri :). I would always beg my friends to sign up for a race with me, but my desperation scared everyone away. They thought triathlons were terrifying and no one wanted to compete in a race that required more effort than the typical 5ks everyone did in our town.

Eventually one day I convinced my best friend to train with me, and we went for an slow three mile run. I was excited I had finally convinced someone… Until my friend couldn’t make it past mile 1. Alright, back to square one.

About a year later,  I somehow persuaded another friend to actually sign up for a race. I had definitely done it this time, I could finally race with a friend! My friend is notoriously lazy and she ended up only running twice and swimming once before race day (while I had been training daily for 2 months ha). Race day rolled around and there was a huge thunderstorm. The bad weather scared my friend and she didn’t want to bike on wet roads (so she said). She completed the swim portion of the triathlon, then DNFed.
I was unsuccessful yet again!!!

This past fall I FINALLY succeeded in inducing a friend to complete a race with me. My roommate, Stephanie, is very active and spontaneous- the perfect kind of person to target. We randomly went for a 7.5 mile run one day and she was impressed she made it that far since she isn’t a frequent runner. I seized this opportunity of her being confident in her endurance capabilities and encouraged her to sign up for a race I had coming up in a couple weeks. She agreed and I was ecstatic!

We both finished the race and had a lot of fun. Our friends Ryan (who lives in our dorm at school) and Caity (YT prez) also competed, which made race weekend even more exciting.

After 5 years of begging friends to try triathlon, I finally understand the most effective marketing strategy. First off, one must target the right friend. Try to think of friends you have who are already swimmers or runners. Since they are already athletes, they will be more inclined to try a sport that they are slightly familiar with.

Second, talk about how fun races are! Describe how exhilarating it is to cross the finish line and how accomplished they will feel. Obviously don’t make a race sound too daunting because who wants to try a scary sport? No one, really.

Sand sculpture at the Nautica South Beach Triathlon!

Sand sculpture at the Nautica South Beach Triathlon!

Lastly, make the race into a weekend trip. When I compete in Miami, my dad and I drive down the day before so we can have time to walk around South Beach. This past fall Caity and I tried to plan a fun weekend on the Cape in Massachusetts, which made us even more excited about the race. Our plan ended up falling through since we had no car, but that’s another story.

So now that you know how to persuade (and how not to persuade) your friends, let us know how it goes! Email us at


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