US Military Endurance Sports

USMES Elite Athlete Program

USMES believes in supporting athletes and para-athletes who have made a commitment to endurance sports as a key part of their healthy lifestyles.  Our Elite Athlete Program (also referred to as the “USMES Elite Team”) expands opportunities for those who are willing and able to ensure the vision of USMES remains strong, and for those who set examples of living a balanced lifestyle under challenging circumstances.

The USMES Elite Athlete Program is comprised of athletes and para-athletes whose primary focus in racing is to be on the podium and to be competitive in the world and national stages.  These athletes have dedicated themselves to achieving top level success in their athletic passion as well as their military profession.  They strive to improve and know how to inspire their local communities to improve as well.  While achieving lofty personal goals, these athletes support others and are locally influential.  They understand the value of a support network essential to reach the very top.

The USMES Elite Athlete Program is the flagship of USMES, consisting of the competitive best of our membership in achieving the vision of USMES; to be the preeminent endurance sports community for active and Veteran members of the U.S. Armed Forces.  These are the people who love to race and love the lifestyle; inspire us, advise us and motivate us; are enthusiastic and share enthusiasm; show us what is actually possible.

The USMES Elite Athletes are selected annually by USMES staff to represent USMES and its partners.  The team includes a full spectrum of athletes and para-athletes across all five U.S. armed services competing in triathlon, cycling (road, track, cyclocross, and mountain biking), running and para-athletics.

Benefits of being a part of the USMES Elite Athlete Program include:

  • USMES racing and training uniforms
  • Promotion of you and your results across the USMES community
  • Free and discounted products from our partners like Essentia Water and GU Energy
  • Exclusive Elite Athlete Program offers and discounts in the USMES Store
  • Stipends for race entry, travel, and lodging at world/national events
  • Free registration and lodging at USMES Training Camp in Tucson AZ
  • Performance bonuses
  • Team camaraderie

Interested?  For more information on the USMES Elite Athlete program, please read the below FAQs or contact dan.frost@usmes.org.

Applications for the 2018 USMES Elite Athlete Program are now closed. Please check back in September 2018 for the next application cycle.


USMES Elite Athlete Program FAQs

What is the scope of the Elite Athlete Program?

The USMES Elite Athlete Program supports a full spectrum of endurance athletes, including and not limited to athletes participating in triathlon, cycling (road, track, cyclocross, and mountain biking), running and para-athletics.  The program endeavors to support the highest level we realistically can within each discipline.  The program currently supports both men and women, young and old, active and veteran, representing all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  The USMES Elite Athlete Program operates on an annual basis, with a new team selected each October, and a competitive season running from October to September.

What is the focus of the USMES Elite Athlete Program?

The focus is to help military athletes who have demonstrated the talent, skills, motivation and work ethic to compete on the national and international stage in endurance sports.  This program is developmental in nature and is about giving those athletes an opportunity to experience another level of competition they may not otherwise have been able to, along with some mentorship and experiences along the way.  In some cases, we are looking to help transition or “graduate” athletes to a level beyond what we can support if they desire to pursue a professional career.

It also gives athletes an opportunity to experience the realities of a sponsor-supported world.  The program is looking for athletes focused on progression and raising the bar for what they consider “success”.  Most importantly, our elite athletes are the flagship members of USMES who best embrace our vision and carry out our mission of building a preeminent community of active and Veteran service members engaged in a healthy lifestyle through endurance sports.

How is the Elite Athlete Program funded, and what level of support is granted?

The Elite Athlete Program is funded entirely through contributions to USMES of either cash or product.  Athletes are provided clothing and product plus in some cases equipment will be offered at a discounted rate for purchase.  Additionally, a reimbursement is provided for travel and entry fees.  The program does not fully fund or fully support athletes.  It is meant to offset costs that athletes incur.  At the highest levels of competition, athletes may also be supported through other avenues, such as the DoD-sponsored World Class Athlete Programs, or USOC NGB national team programs.

Does USMES have a “development” program below the elite level?

USMES has numerous support structures in place for its members, from club purchase deals and team focus events to entry fee reimbursement that are equivalent to or better than what most age group and Category 3-5 athletes would see on their own or through regional or local programs.  USMES focuses on making the club experience as beneficial as possible, especially for those seeking to race frequently and aspire to higher levels.

What do you look for in a selectee and what advice do you have for aspiring USMES Elite Athlete Program members?

We are looking for the best performers on the field of play, the best examples of ambition and discipline, and the best representatives of themselves and the USMES community.

First, we are looking for athletes who are world-class or national-class competitors in their discipline or have demonstrated the capabilities to develop and grow into world or national-caliber athletes.  We also want athletes who are willing to challenge themselves to reach lofty goals beyond what most others, and perhaps themselves, would dare to strive towards. We are particularly excited when participation in the Elite Athlete Program unlocks an opportunity or overcomes a barrier to an athlete’s upward trajectory.

We particularly need athletes with the willingness, availability, and skills (or capabilities to develop the skills) of being an example and ambassador.  The sponsor-supported world of endurance sports is focused on athletes who are marketable and are able to balance the demands of military life, athletic excellence, and personal interaction.  We value the athletes who realize that they get more back when they give more to their teammates and supporters.

For more information on the USMES Elite Athlete Program, please contact dan.frost@usmes.org.