World Triathlon Corporation has announced that effective immediately it is suspending registration for the 2013 edition of its New York City Ironman event.
The inaugural race took place this past Saturday, August 11th, and was won by Jordan Rapp and Mary Beth Ellis. Weather was hot and humid, and the run course was described as brutally hard. The race served as the Ironman U.S. Championship.
The logistics were difficult, and the race, with its ferries, drop-offs, noise ordinances and traffic and travel complexities was unique among Ironman races in the toll it took on volunteers and competitors. While there was almost universal praise for a race well run, a thread on the Slowtwitch Reader Forum asked whether contestants will return. One post was emblematic of many others:
”As you are asking me today, no, I wouldn’t do it again. It was a great experience, NY is a great city, going on ferries everywhere is fun and running on the GW bridge was uber-cool.
However logistics for both athletes and spectators were a nightmare, the run was brutal and the bike super boring.”
WTC seems to have gotten that message loud and clear, and will suspend registration for now. WTC’s statement reads in part:
It is 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 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 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.
WTC’s CEO Andrew Messick vowed to take care of his priority registrants first, including this year’s race volunteers and those who’ve already registered. But there is no guarantee this race will return at all and, if it does, it will be with race-friendlier logistics.