Having already entered this year’s London Triathlon I’m now used to receiving a fair few emails from IMG, organisers of the event, inviting me to sign up to some of their other events which I’m tempted to do and no doubt will at some point in the future.
IMG’s latest communication however took be aback a little, this part in particular:
“… As someone who has entered the Olympic Distance we wanted to let you know about some exciting options available:
1. Olympic Plus
We have created a new distance at the London Triathlon. This year for the first time you will be able to take part in the Olympic Plus category. This distance is 1.5km swim, 80km bike (usually 40km), 10km run and you are guaranteed to be going to Westminster and back three times! It will start at 6:30am on Sunday morning and will be £40 on top of your existing entry to take part. Initially we have a limit of 150 places available, limited to those who have already entered the London Triathlon…”
Wow, they’ve created a new distance for the already very over-subscribed London event. More like, they’ve created a new way of screwing £40 out of 150 suckers. Now I’m not sure if this new distance is in any way official, but the reason I enter this event year after year is amongst other things to see if I can better my previous time to achieve a PB. I racked my brain to think of a single reason why I would want to part with another 40 quid so that I can be one of the privileged minority who can double the distance of an already testing bike leg. I couldn’t think of a single reason.
Of all the ways to generate a little extra revenue, this really starts to compromise the sport. The Olympic distance is already a well proportioned event, and at London even more so because it’s a fast, flat course. To then have to ride an additional 40 km would surely compromise the run leg in some way or another. The event becomes neither Olympic or half Ironman, it’s some random hybrid in the middle designed to cream that little extra off the top. At £1/km it’s also somewhat steep for an event you’ve already paid to participate in.
I’ve nothing against IMG increasing their revenue streams, but not at the cost of the sport. The London event in particular is already busting at the seems, please don’t make it worse. Unless of course you’re consciously designing ways to reduce the number of participants through ideas like this. As nan from the Catherine Tate Show would say, “…what a fucking liberty.”
I don’t know what you other participants think, but I’d be interested to know…