So you want to do a 140.6??

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:

“For 34 years, IRONMAN has been committed to delivering a superb experience for athletes. Creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for athletes, spectators, partners and volunteers is our priority. We listen carefully to our consumers and have heard from many of them about the inaugural Aquadraat Sports IRONMAN U.S. Championship. This is the feedback we have received:
Most of our athletes loved the race. It was iconic and challenging – a tough test – just like New York.
We were also told to improve the logistics for our athletes and supporters. Producing an event in a large urban market is complex and challenging. The combination of the ferries, transition in Palisades State Park, an inability to have amplified sound in Riverside Park after 10 p.m. and the difficulty for our spectators to watch much of the race all combined to create an athlete and spectator experience that we need to improve. 
Addressing the logistical complexity requires us to reconfigure a number of elements in our race. Given the changes we believe are necessary for the 2013 event, we need to do more work to assess whether it is viable at a price point that our athletes find reasonable. Part of our commitment to the IRONMAN experience is the relationship between registration price and the value to athletes. The pricing for the 2013 race is a reflection of the operational and logistical challenges of doing business in metropolitan New York and New Jersey. Simply put, to make this event a delight for our athletes, volunteers and spectators, the race is not viable at a lower price point.
It has always been our policy at IRONMAN races in North America to open registration for the following year’s race the day after the event so that athletes and volunteers can gain guaranteed entry before general registration opens. We followed that policy yesterday for the 2013 Aquadraat Sports IRONMAN U.S. Championship. In retrospect, it was a mistake. We should have taken the time to listen to our athletes, partners and municipalities before we opened registration.
By suspending registration, we are taking the time to do that now. We need to work with all of our partners over the next several weeks to ensure that this event can be conducted in the way that our athletes expect and deserve.
In the interim, we will immediately refund the registration fees of each athlete who has registered and will hold their spots for the 2013 race pending the re-opening of registration.  We continue to be amazed by our athletes and all those involved in the success of our events, and we congratulate all of the athletes, volunteers and spectators that made the 2012 Aquadraat Sports IRONMAN U.S. Championship a memorable day in IRONMAN’s history.
For more information on IRONMAN, visit www.ironman.com. Athlete inquiries should be directed to NYC@ironman.com. Media-related inquiries should be directed to Media@ironman.com.” 


Originally from: http://ironman.com/events/ironman/uschampionship/ironman-u.s.-championship#ixzz23Tx4v7hn

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).

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2 thoughts on “So you want to do a 140.6??

  1. I heard a lot about that mess today. I'm no IronMan, but it is a distant goal nonetheless. For what it's worth, they should be more realistic… It should run FLAWLESSLY for the money those men and women are paying & for the revenue dollars that they bring in… Anything less is a disappointment. Sarahwww.thinfluenced.com

  2. Great post. You sum up a lot of folks' sentiment. I think M-Dot is trying to get better in the client experience arena…but they still have room to get better. I've done quite a few M-dot races (including IMKY and IMFL), but I won't do another. Other than the "You're an Ironman!" portion of the race, I'm underwhelmed – The races are just too crowded and you're treated as a number – not a customer (typically).

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