Hy-Vee pulls the plug on triathlon

The popular and rich purse Hy-Vee Triathlon started in 2007, and according to the Des Moines Register Hy-Vee will not take place in 2015 and moving forward.

Hy-Vee had sent out a letter to race participants to inform them of their decision, but did not list specific reasons for that call.

"As our company's health and wellness priorities continue to evolve, we are constantly evaluating our offerings to ensure that we are engaging customers of all interests, fitness levels and abilities. This process led us to the difficult decision to discontinue these events and begin exploring new avenues.

We are planning to create a new event series for kids and families. Details on this new series are still pending, but we can share with you that it will be aimed at engaging children of all fitness levels and abilities . It will focus on participation and fundraising instead of competition.

We look forward to continuing to be your partner in promoting health and wellness. We recognize the initial exit from the triathlon may be difficult; however, there are other opportunities to be involved in health and wellness events throughout our eight states and through the triathlon community.

Thank you again for your participation, your dedication to the sport of triathlon and your understanding. We look forward to sharing information on the new event series by mid-March. ..." said the letter to the athletes.

Over the years the best triathletes from around the world had gathered in Des Moines and raced for what was then the richest purse in the sport. The timing and location of the race was not ideal for many athletes chasing the Olympic dream, but the money offered was too good to simply look past this race in the Midwest of the United States. The race was the brainchild of former Hy-Vee CEO Ric Jurgens who wanted to show that his company was committed to an active and healthy lifestyle.

There have been some great performances and finishes at this race but maybe non as wild and memorable as the 2009 one where Simon Whitfield managed to beat Brad Kahlefeldt, Jan Frodeno and Kris Gemmell to the line. Many actually have called it the best finish ever.

And the big checks always brought out big smiles from the athletes, and what is not to like about a $200,000 check?

In 2013 the purse was reduced to $500,000, but that still gave the winners a very fine $100,000 check for the 2 hour effort. In 2014 Helle Frederiksen and Hunter Kemper were the champions and that makes them the final ones.