Ironman legend Dave Scott says it’s “ludicrous” that athletes spend so much of their time racing in Kona without seeing any spectators, and believes finishing times would come down if fans had better access.
Asked by 220 what changes there have been since his famous ‘Iron War’ battle with Mark Allen in ’89, Scott said: “I think the atmosphere 25 years ago was even more electric than it is now. WTC could be more accommodating to the international media, not just NBC, and they can make it more spectator friendly by carting people out there [to the course] and cordoning off the run sections.”
Comparing the “two metre wide tunnel of screaming fans” seen at Challenge Roth and the Tour de France to the long sections in Kona where athletes don’t see any spectators at all, the six-time Ironman world champ believes that athletes want the former and not the latter.
“The irony is that in the last two years, there’s a stop zone at 13 miles in the run where there can’t be spectators beyond that, so the athletes are on their own out there from mile 13 and there’s about an eight-mile segment where they don’t see any spectators. For me that’s ludicrous, that’s crazy.”
He adds: “I mean look at Roth, they have people right on top of the athletes, that’s why we like to race. We do enough bloody hours of training by ourselves, bring the fans to their athletes and you’re going to see a lot of those guys running under 2:40hrs just because of the sheer excitement.”
(Main image: Paul Phillips)
For more from Dave Scott and Mark Allen, pick up a copy of the December issue of 220 Triathlon, on sale 11 November