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Race to Tri: The CalTri Race Series

Low-budget and high-quality? CalTri is for everyone.


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Each magazine issue, we’ll be highlighting a race you might not know about. This month: the CalTri Race Series.

In 2015, race fees were climbing and members of the California Triathlon Club saw how the cost was keeping new athletes from the sport. Their solution? The CalTri Race series.

What: “We wanted to extend the concept of safe, affordable and accessible triathlon into the race production space,” said CalTri founder Thom Richmond. After successful races in their home state, the series expanded to 20 CalTri events nationwide in 2022, and will grow to over 30 next year.

Why: If you want to do a race without it costing hundreds of dollars, then CalTri is for you. Adult sprint entry fees are as low as $60 and the Olympic distance costs around $110. A family of four can race for $190 total. You can even race for free if you volunteer at another CalTri event.

But this is no low-budget backyard affair. Instead of cutting corners on athlete amenities, CalTri supports their nonprofit program by calling on non-endemic sponsors, like Amazon, Google, Starbucks, and Subaru. They’ve also developed their own in-house insurance program to lower their insurance costs to about $2.50 per athlete, according to Richmond.

CalTri also has a robust program for first-timers: Anyone who signs up for a race is offered the option of enrolling in the S.P.R.I.N.T club, an acronym for Swim, Pedal, Run, Intro, and Novice Team. This free beginner-focused group equips members with coaches, training plans, and monthly motivational speakers— lining up with CalTri’s mission of removing as many barriers to entry as possible.

How: At every CalTri event, a few hundred athletes choose from one of seven sprint-distance or seven Olympic-distance races: triathlon, relay, duathlon (run-bike-run), aquabike (swim-bike) aquathlon (swim-run), open-water swim, or run. Register on site or sign up 30 days in advance to get your name printed on your t-shirt.

For more information and to register, visit californiatriathlon.org