Six Ironman races postponed as CEO message receives backlash
Ironman have announced that they will be postponing six of their upcoming early season races until later in the year, amidst backlash on the company's refund and transfer policies after CEO Andrew Messick's recent video announcement.
“We all want to get back to racing” says Andrew Messick, the CEO and President of Ironman, but it all comes down to what is happening with the virus, travel restrictions and the ability of host countries to conduct a successful and safe race for all.
Despite strongly highlighting that “our focus is on making the races happen”, Messick admits that it’s not always possible and they have decided to move several races to later in the 2021 season.
The races affected include those situated in Europe, the Middle East and Africa: Ironman 70.3 Marbella, Ironman 70.3 Venice-Jesolo, Zafiro Ironman 70.3 Alcudia-Mallorca, Ironman Mallorca, Ironman 70.3 Aix en Provence, Ironman Lanzarote. All of which were set to take place in April and May, these races have now mostly been postponed to around September time. With so many races being pushed to the latter end of the typical triathlon season, it begs the questions, are the September/October months getting too saturated? And what will happen to the uptake of lesser-known races in the face of these giants?
Concerns from athletes over a lack of notice before races are cancelled and general dissent is stirring against the multi-million brand on their social media channels, as Messick explains that “we wait until we have no alternative, until we’re certain that the races can’t happen, to enact a postponement”. Ironman state that safety for all involved is their priority going forwards.
An update from Andrew Messick – President and CEO pic.twitter.com/CI4pyGOQN3— IRONMAN Triathlon (@IRONMANtri) February 15, 2021
It was an absolute pointless, waste of time message. Comments on the video say it all. Issue refunds and then allow athletes to re-enter when/if they can. Meant to be doing Copenhagen in August. What if it goes ahead but I can’t travel or I haven’t been able to do any swimming?— mark dunford (@mdunford1) February 16, 2021
With such a heavy time investment in the training for an Ironman, along with the logistics and monetary ties, should athletes be given more notice, or should Ironman maintain their focus on putting on races when possible and avoiding postponement which Messick argues is an “irreversible” measure?
One thing’s for certain, the pandemic has been a difficult year for all and the sport has been hit hard, we are all peaking around the curtain and speculating what exactly will become of the 2021 race season….watch this space.
Have you been affected by these changes? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, @220Triathlon
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