How much does a Pro triathlete earn? Ruth Astle opens her books – Elite News

2021 has turned out to be a good year for Ruth Astle – but have the great results on the course translated into financial success?

Overall winner by age group at the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Astle quickly rose to Pro ranks after achieving this goal and finished eighth at IRONMAN Western Australia in December 2019 on his Pro debut.

Ruth finished 2021 in 30th place in the PTO World Ranking. That would have resulted in a $ 5,000 year-end bonus – but how much did she earn in the whole of 2021?

This was the subject of an insightful video on her Youtube channel, which declined during the holiday season.

2021 – a decisive season

We were on hand for both UK-based Ruth events in 2021 – fourth at the PTO supported Dorney Triathlon and a first Pro win at the Outlaw Half Holkham, another PTO supported event – but it would be the fourth quarter of 2021 when she really made her mark at the highest level.

Despite having to treat an injury in the second half of the season, Astle clinched a decisive victory at IRONMAN Mallorca, taking the strip (and crossing the nine-hour mark), barely a minute away. ahead of Justine Mathieux (FRA).

Building on this success – and barely five weeks later – Astle went to Port Elizabeth for the IRONMAN African Championship, where (in less than two minutes yet …), she held on for the victory to Nelson Mandela Bay.

Two wins – both with top prize checks of $ 15,000 – happy days, aren’t they?

The finances of pro triathlon

If your primary motivation is financial success, professional triathlon is unlikely to be the career of choice. There are certainly worse options, and the landscape is currently in a phase of transition with initiatives from the PTO, Super League Triathlon and others. But for the vast majority, “living the dream” may not be quite what you expect.

Inspired by the likes of Cody Beals and its annual budget analysis blogs, Ruth now provides insight into whether she makes any money from triathlon.

While these $ 15,000 winnings are great in isolation, there are a lot of costs associated with being a triathlete throughout the year, especially for one in the early stages of her professional career.

In her first full season (impacted by a pandemic) of 2020, Ruth estimated that her overall year resulted in a loss of around £ 1,000. How would 2021 compare?


Just for training, running, traveling, buying equipment, etc., Ruth reported costs of just over £ 16.5,000 for the year. Even then, these costs could have been considerably higher had it not been for friends who provided accommodation on several trips abroad. Accommodation costs kept at just £ 1,280 are remarkably low considering the number of trips undertaken.

Flight costs were significantly higher than these – unaided by the Omicron virus creating travel restrictions just as she was in South Africa. That alone was an unforeseen extra hit of £ 2,500, just to find flights to be able to get back to the UK.

It’s easy to envy some of the top-of-the-line bikes that professional athletes ride – but there’s no F1 team behind the scenes to make them run flawlessly. Over £ 4,000 was spent on bike parts and maintenance alone. “I ride a lot, things are breaking!


An interesting takeaway from the video is that to date Ruth has yet to receive the payoffs from those wins in Mallorca and South Africa, so cash flow is another curve to add to the mix.

Along with the PTO events, the estimated prizes for the year are around £ 22,000, nicely complemented by podium bonuses of around £ 6,000.

Further proof that it takes time to build financial relationships with sponsors while you develop as an athlete is welcome – but relatively small overall – financial sponsorship. In twelve months, at the end of its 2021 season, let’s hope that it will continue to grow.

The essential ? Well, the smallest current revenue stream for the season is from YouTube ad revenue, which of course will be heavily tied to subscribers and video views.

Given that… we’re not going to spoil the ending here (and hopefully help push some more of you to watch the video!), So go ahead and watch it. Well worth eight minutes if your time.

I am still working

While running and winning as a professional athlete, Ruth still works part time, where she is Senior Manager for Lloyds Banking Group.

“I’m quite happy that I don’t rely on triathlon for my income! Right now it’s my entry into a little fundraiser to help get back to triathlon next year.

“I hope that by the end of next year I will have done well enough to hopefully be able to attract a few more sponsors, as well as other sponsors.

“For me, the priority is still working with brands that I really love and believe in. This is part of why I still work for Lloyds, to make sure that I don’t depend on triathlon for my financial support because it means I have the freedom to choose who I work with, which is pretty cool.

Sponsorship – a two-way street

We have spoken frequently in recent months about the evolution of the ways athletes interact with the public – fans, sponsors, media and more – and this is something Ruth is well aware of.

“The other thing that’s really important is thinking about the value you add to people, that’s where we have to try to create this content package, giving back good content to the brand that supports me and me. Jack. [Schofield, of Two26 Photography, who produces Ruth’s YouTube content].

“It’s important to think about why they are supporting you. Yes, results are part of it, but at the end of the day, they need something to help them sell things to people.

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