Don’t believe for a moment that the Ironman brand has lost some of its cache: Just the mere possibility of it returning to Penticton was enough to kill one of its competitors.
Michael Brown, organizer of the Super League triathlon that was supposed to take place in August, announced Monday he cancelled the event.
Registration numbers were already poor, he said, when word came in May of Ironman’s possible return. Hoping to save their cash for the more prestigious Ironman event, 100 registrants immediately asked for their money back from Super League.
Such is the power of the Ironman brand.
We don’t fault Brown for cancelling – he would have lost his shirt. We do, however, give him credit for working his butt off to put on triathlons the past four summers under the terms of a licence with the City of Penticton.
While he did so with eyes wide open, he spent the first three years flogging the Challenge Family brand of races, which, despite city officials’ insistence back in 2012, never really took off in North America and didn’t get the support promised by the company.
Brown changed tack last year by signing on with Super League, but the format was confusing and racing took place over three days in a small portion of the city. And, in an eerie case of foreshadowing, the event limped to a close as the final day of racing was cancelled due to wildfire smoke.
Brown’s best move was getting the 2017 ITU Multisport World Championships Festival, which attracted 3,600 athletes from around the world, but that was a one-off.
It’s too bad Penticton won’t have a flagship triathlon this year, but it wasn’t shaping up to be much of a race anyway.
Ironman, on the other hand, has already shown itself to be a winner.
— City editor Joe Fries