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Race to Tri: The PTO U.S. Open

"Watch the pros, race like a pro."

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Every month we’ll be highlighting a race you should try. This month: the new age-group Open events from the Pro Triathletes Organization. Check out all the Races to Tri.

When the Professional Triathletes Organization announced its move into age-group racing this year, it did so with two big new races in the U.S. and Canada—and a European and Asian Open coming in 2023. Those events, along with their flagship Ryder Cup-style Collins Cup, will ultimately make up the PTO Tour.

All the Open races will feature a high production-value, $1 million pro race over the new 100K distance, along with a festival, a TV broadcast, and a number of age-group events—with the goal of growing the appeal and reach of multisport.

“They’ll see the sparkle, the razzmatazz, and we’ll get them into tri,” said PTO CEO Sam Renouf.

WATCH: All PTO Tour races LIVE on Outside Watch

What: The PTO will be hosting both the U.S. Open (Sept. 17-18) and the Canadian Open (July 23-24), but will be contracting with local race organizers and race directors to put on the races. In the U.S., it’ll be USA Triathlon putting on the U.S. Open at a man-made event venue in Irving, Texas—just outside Dallas.

The U.S Open race location in Dallas. (Photo: Courtesy of the Pro Triathletes Organization)

Both Saturday and Sunday will host age-group races in the morning (25K distance on Saturday and 100K on Sunday), with the women’s pro race one afternoon and the men’s pro race the next afternoon.

The motto? “Watch the pros, feel like a pro,” Renouf said.

Why: Often in long-course triathlon, age-groupers and pros are mixed up together on course—but the PTO is hoping to separate those things in order to elevate the pro race (which will also be a key part of their broadcast deals) and create a VIP spectator and age-group experience.

“We actually thought it really sucks that the age-groupers don’t get to see the pros racing,” Renouf said.

For all athletes, the bike courses at the U.S. Open will be completely closed laps around Lake Carolyn, with grandstands at the transition and finish—where you can see the pros go by 11 times and watch the whole thing on big screens. There will also be a fan village, with speakers, a Kids Zone, and a concert to close things out.

How: Race either the 25K (500m swim, 20km bike, 4.5km run) or 100K distance (2km swim, 80km bike, 18km run). Or, try the standalone open-water or running events.

The PTO is offering a full refund policy if you get COVID or the race is canceled—or if you’re injured or are due to become a parent.

Check out protriathletes.org for more info.