Man down! Man overboard! ABANDON SHIP!
Is that what a lot of Kansas City area triathletes are thinking? I thought it was just a race here and there that looked a little lean on participants early in the season until I looked at more races as the season has gone on. Numbers don’t lie.
The events around Kansas City that I dove into were:
Heritage Park Triathlon
Kansas City Triathlon
Kansas Ironman 70.3
Shawnee Mission Park Triathlon
Midwest Mayhem Triathlon
I excluded duathlon participation when I looked at the numbers and only looked at finishers, not the number of people that signed up.
Heritage Park, Shawnee Mission Park and Midwest Mayhem are relatively small local races here in Kansas City. If the numbers were down, I would think surely that the Kansas City Triathlon and IM KS 70.3 would definitely be more solid indicators of what could possibly be going on nationally.
Heritage Park Triathlon was where I first noticed that the transition area was surprisingly empty whereas in years past, they filled it up. It was a rather cold race, so that could have been a factor in declining participation. But, all of the other races were prime weather days and nothing out of the ordinary.
I was rather disheartened at the numbers. Participation from 2010 to 2011 has declined for EVERY event! Check out the results of the races I researched and you will see a decline in participation across the board.
Has Triathlon jumped the shark? Eeeehhhhhhhhh….
Sure, you still have to register for an Ironman a year in advance, but the 70.3 races are not selling out and local participation appears to be on the decline.
- Bad economy – lets face it, times are tough and they have been for a couple of years now. In the day and age of zero raises, wage freezes, and raising medical insurance costs, sparing income for triathlons is hard to come by.
- High unemployment – with a bad economy come unemployment. You can’t race if you don’t have a job to pay for it.
- Race fees escalating too much – as inflation hits and raises the price of EVERYTHING, organizers have little choice but to pass some of the costs on to participants. Most small race organizers don’t have deep pockets to pay for races themselves. Mostly it is a business and they want to make money and stay in business.
- Gas prices preclude traveling to races – If you have a gas guzzler like me, when gas reaches $3.80 in the midwest, my wallet slams shut.
- Too many races? – We now have the 5150 series, IM, IM 70.3, HITS Triathlon, REV 3 and a host of other series. With so many to choose from, perhaps triathletes are being more selective on races and where to park their discretionary income.
Any other triathletes shaking in their boots? What have you guys been seeing locally?
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