With all the negative feedback WTC is receiving from this past weekend’s US Championship, it is no surprise that they suspended registration. Athletes are getting their money back (you know the registration fee of $1,200) but it still hurts. It hurts to know that a race had its price escalated with really no notice. It hurts because some people had to save months in an effort to register for that one particular race because they wanted it to be THE race. It hurts because it seems as though there is an unknown right now although it appears WTC is trying to make it better. Who I feel bad for are the volunteers, the age groupers, the spectators… THEY ARE THE BREAD & BUTTER of any organization!! We pay the fees, and trust me we get the fees within the race fees. We buy the garb and souvenirs and our family buys it too (my Mom went crazy in the store post IMTX for me :)). We pay for outside expenses that tends to generate a good bit of money into each cities economy for an event of this scale – you know hotel, meals out, etc, etc… But is there a way to figure out how to make it more cost effective, I think there could be!? (I have a few ideas too if you’d like to hear those) 🙂
Anyways, I was watching Saturday night and got so confused because we were watching t.v. and the race on-line. When we un-muted it, we heard Mike Reilly TALKING and WALKING to each finisher letting them know the words we all want to hear (& *LOUD*), “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” We heard him because he was mic’ed up, so of course we turn to slowtwitch, already thinking we know it’s a noise ordinance thing… it was. It wasn’t the same. My heart was crying for these finishers because I can’t imagine doing a race of this magnitude without any RUCKUS! The LOUD music, hearing Reilly and they 4 little words – it is AMAZING when you get to experience it and this is what helps get you through some of the toughest times of the race… it gives you inspiration… reminds you why your there… it gets you to the FINISH LINE! Overall I was disappointed in the on-line viewing experience. But I also saw posts on Ironman’s facebook page that let me know logistics were a nightmare and that they ran out of ice after a certain time and the complaints go on… come on, this isn’t your first rodeo… I’ll cut some slack because it was the first one in NYC/NJ but some of this stuff happening… ugh! So anyways….
Here’s what WTC had to say in their press release tonight:
It sounds pretty good WTC. I know I was very open on your Facebook page, just like so many others. I appreciate the fact you are listening to your athletes. And now, I’m thinking back to Ironman Texas (where I competed) and remember when it was said registration was suspended until further notice due to a few things needing worked out with the locals. People who’d driven to sign up, volunteers with expectations of getting their name on the roster, athlete’s who’d competed ready to sign up again… ALL BEYOND TICKED OFF – and why – because it was announced last minute. Truth be told, I wouldn’t want want to address a last minute decision to suspend registration again in the same year.
The big question is what are they going to do to make this race successful? Is New York the right city – what about other, more central locations that are triathlon friendly? What about the competition? Is the damage done and more athletes will look towards independent 140.6 races (like the one I’m planning for in 2014 in Key West – http://www.boneislandtri.com/ – I’d do it this coming year on my birthday had I not had to defer the Goofy last year & it’s not because of this NYC deal but the location is near and dear to my heart – I belong in the Keys!), Redman Triathlon OKC (http://www.redmantriathlon.com/), the HITS Tri Series (http://hitstriathlonseries.com/), or the ever growing and family friendly Rev3 (www.rev3tri.com)… and some of these groups offer discounts for registering early (makes me feel warm and fuzzy) and include a race photo.
I think the most important question is – do you want the M Dot or do you want to say “I finished a 140.6” – as much as I enjoyed my Ironman in Texas – the experience, the cheering, the emotions that comes along with it, I’m thinking I’m going to try something different. And who knows what I’ll think about that experience. Bottom line is as an athlete and a consumer, I want to feel cared about because it’s rough in this economy shelling out that kind of money for a race, any race!
(These opinions are my own and based only on what I know and have experienced).