A motivation-based typology of triathletes
Ironman South Africa is the only Ironman on the African continent which takes place every April in Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Cape Province), with nearly 2 000 athletes participating. The purpose of this research was to use reasons for participation (motivation) to identify different market segments of triathletes participating in Ironman South Africa. A survey was conducted during registration of the event in 2013 and a total of 425 questionnaires were administered. A factor analysis found that triathletes were motivated by seven motivational factors including: challenge; inner vie; health and fitness; intrinsic achievement and control; event novelty; group affiliation and socialisation; and, lastly, respect and risk. Based on these motives, three distinct clusters of triathlon participants were identified: Devotees; Enthusiasts; and Aspirationals. Although these participants have different motives, there are only significant differences in age and no other socio-demographic characteristics. This research narrowed the gap in current research related to triathlons and triathletes in the country, which is currently non-existent. The results show distinct segments of different athletes that can aid organisers and destinations to create products and services that complement the participants’ motives. This can ultimately lead to a more competitive and sustainable event.
Key words: Triathlons; Market segmentation; Factor analysis; Clustering; Motivation; Sport tourism; Ironman South Africa.