Less Than A Year
It wasn’t even a full year ago that Ironman announced its purchase of the independent race, Beach2Battleship. And now, after one go at it, the race has been discontinued. I will miss it. Mostly I’ll miss the 112 mile single loop bike ride.
However, I don’t feel the anger that many have expressed on Facebook and I don’t view WTC, the IRONMAN company, as an evil monster. WTC and its founders were instrumental in developing our sport and building it to what it is today. It grew from a $3 million dollar investment to a $650 million dollar business deal last year when it was purchased by the Chinese conglomerate, Dalian Wanda Group. So today, it is faceless and an easy target for animus. But they’re not to blame.
So Who’s To Blame?
Who’s to blame for evolution? Who’s to blame for the color blue? Who’s to blame for puppies and kittens? Those questions hardly make sense, right? That’s because no one is to “blame” for the loss of our race. We are all in this together.
- For the same reason that athletes complain about the IRONMAN race price tag, WTC seeks to make a profit.
- Because athletes choose IRONMAN races over independent races, WTC acquires independent races.
- When athletes want a race experience, WTC focuses on delivering a race experience.
WTC is a business and can only exist if it has customers. It has many.
The solution is simple, but not easy. Competition will drive WTC to either change or wither. I don’t want to see it wither, but change may be a good thing. If you doubt that, look at Microsoft. They are a completely different company since the competition arrived (Linux, Google, opensource, etc). And WTC is a teeny tiny fraction of what Microsoft is/was.
Race companies have to find new, innovative ways to deliver the race experience. That’s really what it’s all about: an experience. Otherwise, we can just swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and run 26.2 miles on any day of our choosing in any location of our choosing.
The Race That Wasn’t
Ironman North Carolina did happen on October 22, 2016. However, the bike course was shortened from 112 to 56 miles due to the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. The race was an “IRONMAN”, but it was not 140.6 miles. I’m fine with that. In fact, the race was a wonderful experience for me. I loved having it in my part of the world.
I wanted so badly to show off to the IRONMAN world how great our bike course is, but didn’t get the chance. Now that the race has been discontinued, I will have to be satisfied riding the course for training and taking video selfies with the chicken at mile 67.
I’ll mourn the loss for another day and then be back on the computer to build my 2017 race schedule.
Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling