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Triathlon News & Notes: What You Missed in January

The biggest triathlon stories to make waves this month.

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Ironman announces Jones Beach 70.3

Ironman is heading to Long Island, via the New York 70.3 slated for September 23. The announcement generated buzz across the triathlon community, as it’s the first Ironman event on Long Island and the return of the brand to the greater New York City area after its one-and-done Ironman New York in 2012. Set to be held in Jones Beach State Park, the race will feature a swim in Zach’s Bay, a bike on the completely closed Wantagh Parkway, and a run on the Jones Beach boardwalk with a finish on the sand. Registration opens on February 1.

RELATED: Recalled: The One-and-Done Ironman in New York City

PTO U.S. Open set for Milwaukee

Milwaukee will be the second stop on the 2023 PTO Tour, the group confirmed earlier this week. The PTO US Open, bound to feature the biggest names in the sport, will run in conjunction with USA Triathlon’s National Championships event on August 4-5, with the  pros battling it out over the 100K PTO Tour distance (2km swim, 80km bike, and 18km run). The Milwaukee announcement follows the earlier news regarding the PTO Asian Open, the first event staged by the organization in Asia, taking place in the Marina Bay Financial District in Singapore on August 19-20.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Milwaukee is the Perfect Pick for the U.S. Open

On shoes scores sponsorship boon

In 2023, both returning Ironman World Champions—plus the men’s Ironman 70.3 World Champ and a women’s 70.3 medalist—will be racing in On shoes. The shoe brand, co-founded by former professional athlete Oliver Bernhard, announced deals with Kristian Blummenfelt, Chelsea Sodaro, and Paula Findlay this week. (Gustav Iden is an established On runner, having famously worn the brand’s controversial prototype in his record-setting Ironman win in October.) “On’s investment in professional triathlon means a lot,” said Sodaro in a statement. “Our sport showcases some of the best athletes in the world, and now we’ll be in the fastest shoes. Like On, triathletes are fearless in trying new technologies and pushing the limits of human performance. Everything about these partnerships makes sense.”

First-Ever Global Triathlon Awards honors the best-of-the-best

Speaking of Sodaro and Iden, both were named “Triathletes of the Year” at the inaugural Global Triathlon Awards in Nice, France on January 21. Sodaro earned the female Rookie of the Year nod for her Ironman debut (which she won), while Iden took home Best Male Triathlete (alongside Flora Duffy, who took the win for the women). Others receiving recognition at the glitzy event, held at Palais de la Mediterranee, included Nicola Spirig (Lifetime Kudos), plus Bob Babbitt and Talbot Cox, who each took awards for their media contributions to the sport.

USAT awards coaches, race directors, and Mike Reilly

While athletes and other major players in the triathlon scene were honored in Nice, another slew of the sport’s VIPs were recognized at the Endurance Exchange event in Austin, Texas last week. USAT handed out awards in various categories covering top coaches, race directors, and others who made a direct impact on the sport in 2022. This included longtime Ironman race announcer Mike Reilly, who was honored with the first-ever Service to the Sport award—a nod to his 33-year-career announcing Ironman events, from which he recently retired. Other honorees included race director Gabriella Gallegos, who took home the Innovation Award for her work broadcasting her event, the all-female Mighty Mujer Triathlon El Paso, live on El Paso’s NBC affiliate station; and Julie Marchese, winner of the Inclusivity Award for directing Tri for a Cure in Portland, Maine—the state’s only all-women’s triathlon.

Hefty donation funds new Junior/U23 National Team

USA Triathlon Foundation, the charitable arm of the sport’s governing body, has announced the formation of the Mallow Junior/U23 National Team, a new men’s and women’s high performance team. The squad, aimed to boost development at a junior level and create a runway for success in international competitions, including the Olympics, is being bolstered by Audra and Michael Mallow. Their $550,000 donation to the USAT Foundation is the largest gift in the history of the non-profit organization. This is not the first time the Mallows, who are both accomplished triathletes, have made significant donations: They made a gift to the USAT Foundation to support their CEO Excellence Fund, and they’ve also used their races as vehicles to raise more than $200,000 for nonprofits targeting disabled children and those from lower-income homes.

Pro triathlete Lesley Paterson up for Oscar

Scottish pro triathlete Lesley Paterson can do much more than swim, bike, and run: She can screen write and produce, too. The 44-year-old XTERRA specialist, who has five world titles to her name, is up for an Oscar for her screenplay writing and production work on All Quiet on the Western Front. A Netflix movie based on the 1929 German novel, the film is up for nine Oscars, including writing (adapted screenplay), for which Paterson is specifically named as a nominee. Paterson, who’s also the author of the book The Brave Athlete, continues to compete occasionally, most recently winning  XTERRA Beaver Creek in July.

Paratriathlete Kendall Gretsch crushes on the slopes

There’s no off-season for paratriathlete Kendall Gretsch. The 30-year-old, who won a gold medal in stunning fashion at the Tokyo Games paratriathlon, recently snagged six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden. All told, Gretsch earned seven medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing, adding to her pile of world and Olympic titles that span across winter and summer sports. Gretsch, who was born with spina bifida, will soon shift her focus back to triathlon and qualifying for the 2024 Paris Games. (On a similar note, World Triathlon announced the inclusion of paratriathlon on the Games program for Los Angeles 2028, where it will be one of 22 para sports competed.)

Baby on the way for Sam Long and Lara Gruden

A “Lil’ Unit” is on the way for Sam “Big Unit” Long and his partner, fellow pro triathlete Lara Gruden. In a shared Instagram post, the couple revealed their news, calling the “new adventure” a “beautiful blessing.”  In a later post, Gruden shared more about their journey, including how she raced Indian Wells 70.3 in December, just three days after finding out she was pregnant. Gruden placed 12th, while Long won the men’s race. “What a unique experience with Sam, me, and baby growing,” Gruden wrote.

The most-read Triathlete articles of January 2023

A look back at what Triathlete fans were reading, sharing, and discussing over the past month:

  1. Ironman Announces Locations, Dates for 2023 and 2024 World Championship Events
  2. This is Why Your Butt Hurts on the Bike Trainer
  3. 6 Things I Hate About The New Tracksmith Eliot Running Shoe
  4. What Is Your Gym Age (And How Can You Grow Up)?
  5. Training Plan: Returning to Swimming After a Break
  6. The Fallout from the Pandemic Bike Boom 
  7. Why You Should Lease, Not Buy, Your Next Pair of Running Shoes
  8. 15 Minutes + 7 Warm-Up Exercises = A Faster, Better Swim
  9. Triathletes Have A Dieting Problem (That Might Not Be Related To Weight)
  10. RaceRanger Drafting Technology Debuts at Tauranga Half