I need to vent a little bit on this new program initiated by the World Triathlon Corporation – Ironman Access. And I really hope that after I do vent, I will feel better because I really do love this sport and hate to see it tarnished. For the last few years I have been growing increasingly disgruntled at the rising cost and market saturation of the “M-Dot” product produced by the WTC but this time they have taken the greed machine way too far.
Welcome the addition of the Ironman Access concept. And I use the word “welcome” in much the same way I would welcome a stomach virus…. Or a hole in the roof of my house. According to the Ironman Access pay to play program, athletes are now given the opportunity to pay an additional $1,000 membership fee to gain access to their exclusive preferred customer club, which will “afford” (another great contradiction, huh?) them the opportunity to register prior to general registration opening up to the rest of the non-member mortals.
As if entry fees and the entry process to these races were not already out of control, we are now going to ratchet the snob factor up a few notches and make these events available to only those with thousands of dollars to burn. Is this really what this sport was intended to be? At what point did the WTC lose complete perspective? And when and how do we, the athletes, draw the line?
Thank God there are independent events out there being run by race directors who have a soul and who DO understand the spirit of the sport and the spirit of the triathlete. Maybe their toilet paper doesn’t contain a logo, but their events are safe, affordable, and fun and focus on the CHALLENGE OF THE RACE.
People ask me all the time whether I prefer to race the independents , or the full production M-Dot races. My answer is usually very honest and I highlight the benefits of each, encouraging people to do both events so that they have a fair representation of both ends of the event spectrum. But I am really struggling with this last move by the WTC which in my mind demonstrates nothing but a ravenous quest for someone else’s dollar.
Popular WTC events already sell out in minutes and carry a lofty sticker price, and now we have the Access program. I am dying to see what might be next. Will they (WTC) continue to price and drive their product line upward and into eventual extinction?
I’ll ask the question again….Is this really what this sport was intended to be? I think and hope not. Can we please just take a step backwards, breath deeply, and take a few personal and corporate inventories with the hope that we can find a way to please everyone and make this a user friendly sport (again)? I honestly don’t think I am rich enough to ever consider an M-Dot event again.
Am I missing something?
Post Script – This morning I have learned that there IS redemption. We do have a voice. And there is much power in the social media. This program has officially been cancelled. It takes courage to admit and correct a mistake like this. Well done WTC.
While I felt strongly about raising my concern, my faith has been restored by this very important video message released by the WTC. Please visit: