CLASH taking triathlon into a new realm

By: Brian Metzler

The hottest event company in triathlon is thinking outside the box again, and the endurance sports world should take notice.

The organization formerly known as Challenge North America, which launched the Challenge Daytona triathlon in 2018 and quickly turned it into a top-tier event with a big prize purse and exceptional TV coverage, announced this week it has rebranded under the name CLASH and is planning to expand its racetrack-based triathlon series to four venues in 2021-2022. It is also adding mountain biking, trail running and running relays within a family-friendly festival atmosphere bolstered by camping, live music, kids’ events and wine tastings.

The goal seems to be reinvigorating the sport of triathlon while also inspiring a wider range of recreational athletes and weekend warriors at a time when industry insiders are expecting a huge, post-Covid-19 spike in endurance sports participation. The new, fierce-sounding name will mirror its aggressive expansion plans while also trying to capture the attention of CrossFit, Spartan Race and trail running participants.

"We are rebranding as CLASH, due to endurance sports being the ultimate CLASH of mind and body,” CEO Bill Christy said in a press conference this week. “The fierce competitions push athletes to finish and succeed while the body is ready to quit, a clear CLASH of desires every athlete faces. What began as a vision to provide world-class triathlons at speedways has blossomed into something bigger that will give all endurance athletes an entertaining and rewarding experience at top-rate facilities."

The CLASH news comes a few weeks after the announcement of Ironman’s partnership with the French organization behind the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc to form a new global trail running series and a month after Super League Triathlon’s announcement of its first U.S. race in conjunction with the Sept. 25-26 Malibu Triathlon.