Welcome to 2021 y’all! As I look into my crystal ball I see a lot of what we saw in 2020. To date Operation Warp Speed has been anything but, so what’s it got to do with the 2021 triathlon season? Grab yourself a Big Mac & Diet Coke and strap in!
By December 31, 2020, we were supposed to have 20 million people vaccinated, in reality it was about 2.8 million. Dr. Fauci and Joe Biden said at this rate it’ll take 10 years to reach herd immunity. Well I ain’t got a lot of time because this ain’t prison. Assuming Biden can’t pull this garbage truck out of the ditch post haste then triathlon season lies in jeopardy….but it’s not all bad though. What’s bad for IRONMAN is good for you.
Most of us have done an IRONMAN or a 70.3, we know they’re the races with the most participants in triathlon. It’s because of their size that municipalities consider them large gatherings. When late spring comes and there’s still an astronomical infection rate we can expect races to get canceled. Let’s just ignore how new strains that are highly infectious have begun to pop up across the globe (US included).
I see this as only being an IRONMAN problem, not a triathlon problem. All these smaller independent and shorter races will likely get permits either a) because of their size or b) they’re out in BFE and those municipalities are likely to not care much. It’s going to be tough sledding for IRONMAN outside the state of Florida (Florida man governor has no restrictions so it’s the Wild West). I know Chattanooga is pretty strict on CoVID rules and can pretty much guarantee wouldn’t give IRONMAN their permits, many others will likely follow suit.
How do YOU win? With IRONMAN races getting canceled but independent and smaller races getting permits it’ll force competition, and competition is good because IRONMAN hasn’t really had any since its inception. If IRONMAN has to cancel events would they defer that race to the following year again or would they force us to eat it because they’ll go under if they lose out on that revenue for one more year? If you make me eat that race fee you’re going to put a bad taste in my mouth and I’ll likely never race your events again. Either way their competition will thrive.
The independent races will see an influx of participants that will likely cause them to sell out events, which is a good thing because that’s more money in the race production’s pockets. Additional resources give them the opportunity to invest in their events and get people to keep coming back.
If independent races thrive then triathlon is still alive. Triathlon doesn’t need IRONMAN and this will show that. I’m perfectly fine with IRONMAN losing it’s stranglehold because a) their customer service is in my top 5 worst right behind Comcast b) Andrew Messick was a huge dickhead to me in our only interaction, so fuck him and the horse he rode in on.