When half is the right amount

Print Article

Ironman Coeur díAlene has been racing against an opponent it canít beat.

Lethargy.

The Coeur díAlene Chamber of Commerce and World Triathlon Corporation announced that the full 140.6-mile race will be discontinued here after this year. Itís scheduled for Aug. 27.

The half-triathlon ó 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running ó will continue through 2020, according to the new contract. That race is June 25.

This is a good move for all concerned. While World Triathlon Corp. used the announcement to advertise this yearís full race and blame its departure on challenges cited by athletes, the press release included two sentences that were on point:

The new agreement is aimed at cutting down on event fatigue and will ease the strain on the recruitment and steep number of volunteers needed for multiple events. Under the agreement, interruption to businesses in the downtown core will be greatly diminished, while the intangible, healthy lifestyle and cultural benefits of the relationship to an IRONMAN are kept intact.

Last yearís advent of the half-triathlon was an obvious success. Scores more locals participated in that race, and the crowds were boisterous. But when the full meal deal was served, the table was nearly empty. Where downtown streets typically have been packed, sometimes several people deep, there were big gaps of empty concrete. The joyful cowbell crescendo had left town.

So part of the new reality is that ďevent fatigueĒ referenced in the press release. Coeur díAlene has hosted 14 Ironman events dating back to 2003, and clearly, putting up two races each summer didnít double anybodyís pleasure. It diminished the product overall and cast a brighter light on whether the pros still outweighed the cons.

Economic studies have shown Ironmanís direct impact on the area as somewhere in the $7.5 million range, a questionable figure when you consider that minus Ironman, many of the hotel rooms and seats in restaurants would be occupied by someone else. Itís not like Coeur díAleneís summertime tourist cupboards were bare before Ironman arrived.

Itís also notable that this is a highly subsidized event for a Chinese company thatís all about making a profit. Thousands of local volunteers replace what would otherwise be an expensive workforce that could have a powerful economic impact, not to mention the fact that the chamber pays a substantial sponsorship fee for the privilege of keeping our area on the Ironman map.

One of the hopes in bringing Ironman to Coeur díAlene years ago was that it would become an employment driver, enticing successful business owners and executives to move their enterprises here once they discovered the many benefits our region has to offer. That has not proved to be the case on any significant level.

Ironman has its ardent supporters, primarily participants and volunteers, and its detractors, who find it an inconvenience if not a business hindrance. For now, anyway, the half-triathlon establishes a middle ground that perhaps everyone can live with.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Getting Press readers, writers on the same page

June 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Despite greeting each other every morning and spending so much time together, often in jammies and slippers over a cup of hot coffee, newspaper reporters and readers apparently donít know each other ...

Comments

Read More

Hereís what dads really want

June 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Editorís note: This editorial was originally published six years ago today. Itís still true. If you beard-stubbled, equal opportunity gender watchers are still waiting for a movie titled ďWhat Men ...

Comments

Read More

We could be looking at voter turnout wrong

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The quest started out as most modern searches do: Going to Google. ďWays to get young people to voteĒ was entered in the search box. More than 94 million options popped up, and after reading throug...

Comments

Read More

Summerís coming: Letís put our fires out

June 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press North Idahoans hadnít even been able to tear June off their calendars last year before smoke made summer miserable. ďSmoke Alarm: Washington blaze dirties local skies,Ē The Press headline read on Ju...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X