PTO Middle Distance World Championship Announced—With $1 Million Prize Purse

Thanks to a partnership between USA Triathlon, Challenge Family North America, and the Professional Triathletes Organization, professionals will have a big target on their 2020 race calendar.

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USA Triathlon, Professional Triathletes Organization, and Challenge North America today revealed that they will come together to produce the “PTO Middle Distance World Championship” as part of Challenge Daytona. The race weekend, which is set for Dec. 4-6, will take place at the Daytona International Speedway.

The three-day festival weekend will culminate with the PTO Middle Distance World Championship race (a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and a 13.1-mile run) with a $1,000,000 prize purse for the world’s top professional triathletes. Organizers are still deciding how the prize money will be distributed, but they did say that it will go at least 20 deep. The top 40 athletes in the PTO World Rankings will automatically qualify and additional spots will be handed out to others based on past performances. Complete details will be released in the next 4-6 weeks. The weekend will also include age-group sprint and middle-distance events, junior challenges, and a pro-am relay.

“The PTO is pleased to be able to work with the USA Triathlon and Challenge Daytona to support the triathlon community to provide race opportunities for athletes,” Charles Adamo, PTO Chairman, said in a press release. “Since many professional events have been canceled and some races rescheduled without a professional prize purse, the PTO is committing $1,000,000 of prize money for the PTO Middle Distance World Championship.”

As Adamo stated, the announcement is likely welcome news to professional triathletes, who have seen most of the races on their 2020 race schedule get rescheduled or canceled. There’s still hope that the Ironman World Championship (set for Oct. 10 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii) and 70.3 World Championship (set for Nov. 28 and 29 in Taupo, New Zealand) will take place—though that’s far from certain at this point. Several Ironmans and other big races like Challenge Roth and the Professional Triathlon Organization’s own Collins Cup have been pushed back to 2021.

This is the second big announcement from the Professional Triathletes Organization since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. Back on March 18, the group announced a decision to pay out $2.5 million to help pros struggling financially with race cancelations.

Featured image by José Luis Hourcade.

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