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Middle Age Segment Of Triathlon Continues To Grow

New triathletes are older, with the biggest growth in the 35-39 and 40-44 age groups.

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It took John Korff seven years to bring an Ironman triathlon to New York; it took nine minutes for the 3,000 race slots to sell out.

Korff, a sporting events producer who runs 100-mile races and the Empire State Building stairs for kicks, had been wrangling and wooing city officials to host the event, a 140.6-mile endurance sport, which includes swimming and biking — and a 26.2-mile marathon tacked on the end.

“I felt like a business therapist saying why they should do this,” says Korff, owner of Korff Enterprises.

In 2010, USA Triathlon annual membership surpassed 135,000 compared with 15,000 to 21,000 roughly a decade ago. New triathletes are older, with the biggest growth in the 35-39 and 40-44 age groups, according to USA Triathlon.

In fact, fortysomethings appear like whippersnappers compared to some triathletes. Just ask Stuart Chagrin, 68, a finance professional who has been competing in the New York City Triathlon since 2005. That race is the same distance as the Olympic event — a modest 32 miles.

“You’re finding older people doing triathlons, older people doing endurance events,” says Chagrin, who began running in his 40s. “Older is younger these days.”

Read more: Cnbc.com