|Challenge Penticton Canada debuted in Penticton in 2013.|
"We're finding it very difficult (to operate) with the negativity around this race and the media hasn't helped us in that sense," Rennie said in a conference call with local reporters, Tuesday.
"But the community, I believe, isn't as best-informed as they could be and we are going to improve our communications, let the community know how we're doing, what's going on. But at the same time, we need this community to rally around us."
A full financial report was not provided to the media, as requested, because it contains proprietary information including salaries and sponsorship contracts.
Rennie said an unexpected expense of $130,000 in refunds occurred. According to the chairwoman, Penticton City Council, which owns the race, wanted full refunds until one month prior to race day in the first year of operation as a goodwill gesture.
Rennie said the board never anticipated the high volume of refund requests as many dropped out after Ironman Canada announced it would operate a race in Whistler on the same day.
Other major expenses include $75,000 in prize money, $64,000 for timing and registration, $32,000 in ambulance service, $37,000 for sound and lighting, $40,000 for traffic control and $29,000 in fencing, the latter a one-time expense.
The actual race cost $1.1-million to stage and Rennie said 69 per cent of all expenses and salaries remained within the City of Penticton. Registration and sponsorship took in $752,395. A trip to Germany for Challenge staff and executive, believed to cost at least $40,000, was not included in the loss and is believed to have been billed to the city's economic development budget.
Mayor Garry Litke has taken over the role of council liaison from Judy Sentes. The board, selected at Monday's AGM, also includes vice-chair Diana Stirling, treasurer Andre Martin, secretary Gord Ferguson and directors Bruce Schoenne, Peter Byrnes, Alan Kidd and Annette Antonaik.
Rennie said with the registration money that has come in thus far for the 2014 race, the society is presently "cash flow positive." However, the society still owes $200,000 on a line of credit, backed by the City of Penticton.
As of Tuesday, registration numbers were "just shy of 800", which is well ahead of this time last year. Rennie was uncertain as to the ratio of locals to out-of-town athletes but notes that athletes from 16 countries have already enrolled.
"We have 2013 behind us and we only have good things ahead happening in 2013," she said.
A Challenge Club function, the race's booster club, is scheduled for Thursday at the Hooded Merganser as the Penticton Lakeside Resort has again signed on as a major supporter of the event.