An Open Letter to Lifetime Fitness

Dear Lifetime Fitness,

You recently cut all but one of your professional races (NYC Tri pro race still lives) just weeks ago in anticipation of being purchased by a private equity firm. The message this sends me and other professionals is that you do not value professional triathlon races as having a meaningful amount of value to your brand or to the triathlon events that you put on around the country every year. Fair enough. You are a business and you need to make decisions that are in the best interests of your business.

With that in mind, I’m confused by this:

Ryan Lifetime
This is an advertisement for the 2015 Chicago Triathlon, a staple of the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series and one of the largest races in the world, that appeared in the April 2015 issue of Triathlete Magazine. Who do you suppose is that person on the bike? It just so happens to be me! A (very) favorable description of my abilities as a professional triathlete would put me at 2nd-tier. I finished 10th in the 2014 edition of that same race. And yet, in spite of my “apparent lack of value”, Life Time Fitness feels that an image of me in that race was important enough to their advertising campaign to publish it in the largest circulating triathlon magazine in the country.

So, Life Time Fitness doesn’t value professional triathletes (as evidenced by their removal of prize money races), yet uses their images to advertise for their races (some of the largest in the world), in major triathlon publications. Oh, and if you feel so inclined, check out the individual race websites (South Beach, CapTex, Minneapolis, NYC, Chicago, Oceanside). Each one has a large banner scrolling photos. Each and every race website in the series includes a photo of a professional in that event.

I would also venture to say that none of those athletes were compensated for the usage of their images. I certainly wasn’t. Nor was I asked for permission to use my image. My guess would be that it’s tucked way in the fine print of the 10,000 word waiver I signed to race in the Chicago Triathlon. I’ll tell you what, Life Time Fitness. You give me a dime per subscriber to Triathlete Magazine and I’ll call it even. My PayPal is


Kevin Ryan

About the Author

Kevin Ryan is a professional triathlete living and training in Lexington, Kentucky. He is a former distance swimmer at the University of Kentucky, though his true talent is in hiding his raw, sexual magnetism. You can catch him at the Challenge North American races in 2015.