Friday, January 15, 2010

USAT licenses explained

Have you ever signed up for a triathlon and then been forced to pay $10 extra at packet pickup? Maybe you are doing your first triathlon this year and you've been told that you need a USAT license, but you don't really know what that is or how to get one? Here's all you need to know:

What is a USAT licnese?
USA Triathlon (USAT) is the governing body of the sport of triathlon in the United States. ( It's overseen by the the United States Olympic Committe. It provides many services to athletes, coaches, and race directors. One of the key services it provides to race directors is event sanctioning, through which it provides event insurance. The insurance covers the athletes, volunteers, and the property that is part of a triathlon. This insurance is usually so expensive that most race directors would not be able to afford it without the assistance of USAT. Without the insurance, many races wouldn't exist. One of the requirements of sanctioning an event is that all participants must be USAT members. Therefore, anyone who signs up for a USAT sanctioned event must show proof of USAT membership. This proof is commonly referred to as having a USAT license.

How do I get a USAT membership?
USAT memberships may be purchased several ways:
  • USAT provides registration services online at
  • Many USAT sanctioned events have USAT memberships available for purchase as part of their online registration.
  • All USAT sanctioned events have USAT memberships available for purchase at packet pickup.
Should I buy an Annual Membership or just pay the One Day fee?
The annual membership costs $39. The one day license costs $10 and may only be used at the event at which it is purchased. It's a no-brainer to purchase the annual membership if you do at least 4 events per year. It typically makes sense to have an annual membership even if you will do less than 4 events per year, as there are many other benefits to having a USAT license, as described on the USAT membership benefits page: The One Day membership is good option if you are likely to do less than one event per year.

When should I buy my membership?
I don't recommend waiting until packet pickup to purchase a license as you'll have to wait in a second line and make a payment. Buy the one-day membership online with your event registration if you can. Buy the annual membership online directly from USAT anytime before your first event. Make sure you bring proof of you online purchase with you to packet pickup, as well as a photo ID.

USAT will give you credit for $10 towards an annual membership if you show receipt from a one day membership purchase.


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