USA Triathlon, Spartan, Tough Mudder, Ironman, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, Running USA and USA Cycling have formed the Endurance Sports Coalition, bringing together organizers of more than 50,000 events annually to work on securing relief and support for operators of endurance events and supporting industries from Congress and Capitol Hill lawmakers.

The Endurance Sports Coalition will advocate for relief with one voice for the endurance sports industry, which accounts for 500,000 jobs, and provides health and fitness experiences to 30 million Americans.

“Race directors nationwide have been forced to postpone or cancel hundreds of USA Triathlon-sanctioned multisport events in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many race production companies, this is a real threat to their livelihood,” USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris said. “Without races taking place many endurance coaches have lost clients and are struggling to stay in business. We are proud to join fellow industry leaders in the Endurance Sports Coalition to advocate for relief for our constituents who are struggling financially as a result of the public health crisis.”

The goal of the coalition is to make sure organizations can continue to retain staff, pay suppliers and host events once it is safe to resume group activities. The coalition currently has more than 475 members across the triathlon, multisport, running, obstacle course and cycling event industries.

“We feel it is our obligation as industry leaders to advocate for a path forward that enables our more than 450 organizations and half a million people to withstand the threat posed by COVID-19,” said Andrew Messick, president and CEO of The Ironman Group. “There is uncertainty around health, the economy and sport. We don’t know when racing will start again, but we know the positive economic impact endurance sports provides to our host cities and the transformative physical and mental impact participating in sport provides to our millions of athletes.”

The effort has gained the support of U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, who has competed in triathlons in her home state.

“The endurance sports industry supports thousands of jobs and has helped millions of Americans lead healthier lives. I am proud to see Ironman’s commitment to communities across our country continue during the coronavirus pandemic,” Sinema said.

The coalition is promoting the endurance sports industry as it provides billions of dollars in annual economic impact to major cities and small towns. Thousands of charitable organizations also rely on events as critical fundraising platforms.

“30 million Americans rely on fitness events as a means to transform their lives and maintain their physical fitness, and a date on the calendar provides a goal,” said Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan. “Everyone is struggling right now, and many of these events, which have long and broad histories, are organized by small businesses that are at risk of disappearing. Even more crucial is support for the 500,000 people who are mostly out of work or have had salaries reduced as a result of the pandemic.”