Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We Own the Races

We, the athletes, really are the owners of all races - regardless of governing body and location.  Good races survive.  Bad races die.  We vote with our dollars and feedback given to race directors.  The "Iron Fever" phenomena is very interesting to me as a sociology observation.

We have to speak up about what we liked and didn't like about races.  The reason why is that race management gets sparse feedback about their races at best.  The only feedback (kinda like an election) is the radical ends of opinions in politics; the fanatics give feedback whether it is sane or not.  If that is the only feedback you get...the race changes a bit toward the radical opinion.  If you had a great experience, say it to the race director's face.  I am almost on a first name basis with Tom Ziebart with his races.  I've told him what I like and don't like about his races.  (Much more like...and more "have you thought about changing x?" conversations.)  He appreciated the feedback and his races got even better.

Race management views athletes as paying customers; they don't want to loose your business (and dollars) to another event.

Our feedback regarding the race course, other competitors, drafting/blocking, elite rules, etc. changes the sport.  Remember, this sport has only been around for a short time.  


Take Back Triathlon 
Versus TV network has been airing great commercials about "Take back the Tour" meaning it is time to get the tour back from the dopers, politicians and let's race a clean, hard race.  I think it is time to "Take back Triathlon" from the drafters, dopers and those ignorant of the rules.  I may be the only one on this soapbox but the next time you do a race with a lot of drafting that effects how you finish or qualify whether it be the Chicago Triathlon, Big Foot Triathlon, Racine, Clearwater, Kona or any qualifier for anything...don't say I didn't tell you so.

This is the genesis of my desire to get involved in marshaling.  I don't like the drafting and cheating and general lack of rules in triathlon lately.  I will make a difference as I am only one person...but I am one.  I was able to convince four people to take the USAT marshal exam.  That means that you have FIVE new marshals, all of whom have been racing more than 10 years.

Its a start.

PS: The Accenture Chicago Triathlon next month will have USAT marshals but it will also have entirely too many racers.  Crowded race courses are a HUGE problem...follow the money.


  1. EXCELLENT post Bob and thank you for YOUR kind words. I am writing a letter this week to NA Sports, WTC, and the tri magazine outlets. What are we doing to ourselves and to each other? It is time to take back our sport!

    :) Mary

  2. Glad you are feeling better Mary.

    I'm so glad that you are writing to the RD! This is change that could happen. The Lake Placid swim has been a fist fight for years and needs to change; as well as people swimming inside the buoys.

  3. You are totally correct. Always share feedback with race directors, complete evaluation forms, write to publications, and comment on blogs - including

  4. Great post! I agree 100% with what you said about providing feedback to RDs.

    Thanks for giving back and helping to keep racing clean by becoming a marshal, we can never have enough. Even with lots of officials on the course I saw tons of blatant drafting and even a few guys working together in a paceline at Racine last weekend.

    Thanks again for your Bull Valley suggestions, we need to get together and ride sometime!