Monday, August 22, 2011

Demand More From your Sport

If you race triathlons for any time at all there is something you will quickly notice. Triathlon races are a product, and just like any product you can buy at the store some companies make a great product while others struggle. With companies like Challenge, Ironman, Revolution 3, Tri-star driving the price of our sport up. It is up to us as athletes to maintain the quality in the products we buy.

It really is simple. If you don't buy a product, the smart companies will realize they need to improve. If you keep paying for a horrible product companies won't change and take your money happily. This year more than ever I have raced in and noticed races that are cutting corners left and right. They are putting out a horrible product that we as athletes are paying way to much for. As much as I hate the price of the larger events like Ironman, for the most part their product has a high quality and this is reflected in the very large price tag (yes there is still some large names that put on bad events). What I have seen though is smaller races that jack up their prices because Ironman is doing it, while they deliver no where near the product that someone like Ironman or Rev3 does.

If I sign up for an Olympic distance triathlon, I want to swim a 1500, Ride a 40k, and run a 10k. Yes I understand if things are slightly off, but a swim that is 600 meters short I feel is plain lazy on the race directors part. Recently I watched a half Ironman In my home town that had a swim that was well over distance and a bike that was 4 miles to far. This race also had athletes riding through intersections with a 50mph speed limit that were not protected (I hope you look both ways before you cross). This is exactly what bugs me. Race directors who cut corners and throw together a weak product hoping people will still show up and fill their pockets. Weak products weaken our sport, and get rid of any validity we might ever have.

Triathlons are hard events to compare with one another. Most of the time you are racing for placement in the field and not shooting for a certain time. This is due to a dependence on conditions like wind and temperature. These conditions should really be the only variance we see in races. When a race is 4 miles to long one year than 3 miles to short the next, you can never have things like course records. When an athlete records a fast amazing time people will immediately question the course and call it short. Thus our sport has lost its validity. Can Ironman call the record breaking time in their Austrian race a record when the bike for years has been and was 3 miles short? They really shouldn't, but they did.

I am writing this post to encourage my fellow athletes to hold onto the quality of our sport. If you race an event that is a poor quality event for the price being charged, let the race director know. If a race director still does not change, don't support the event. You wouldn't pay full price for for a remodel job on your house that was not complete or horribly done, so don't support race directors that do the same.


Eric Sachtjen said...


Great thoughts. While i'm only into this sport the last 3 years, i've started selectively choosing my events. Not based on swag, which is good, but which one will give me the best experience and is well organized. If more racers demanded more our sport would be better off. Good luck the rest of this season.

Mike said...

I see the same thing in running races. Last month, the USRA Yakima Half Marathon for one.

Spokane Al said...

Great points Josh. Last year I told the Spokane Tri race director that after that race I would not be back again.

If we don't call the race directors on problems and issues and continue to sign up for less than quality events, we are really just well trained, athletic sheep.