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Long distance triathlon participation fading, council hears

It's been a challenge - in more ways than one - for the European based triathlon event to gain a foothold in North America. Challenge Penticton license holder Michael Brown recieved permission from the City of Penticton to abandon the brand in favour of another triathlon for the two years remaining in his contract with the city.
September 19, 2017 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - Long distance triathlon races are in decline across North America, Penticton City Councillors heard today.

Michael Brown of MB Events, license holder of Challenge Penticton, addressed council at today’s committee of the whole meeting, Sept. 19, to ask permission to rebrand triathlon races in the city in 2018 and 2019.

Brown recited the Challenge triathlon brand’s history in North America, as the organization went from the single Penticton race in 2013 to 10 races in North America in 2016, only to fall back to a single race in Penticton this year.

Brown said long course triathlon participation is down 20 per cent from past highs in the sport, while the number of events in North America has increased by 40 per cent.

Brown informed council the Coeur d’Alene Ironman in Idaho hosted its final event this year, noting Ironman was purchasing some of its races and cancelled them in order to create more demand for their higher profile events.

Brown said many participants in today’s triathlon are “one and dones” once they crossed a long distance triathlon off their bucket lists. He said the millennials market was not engaged in long course racing, noting even Ironman Canada has added half distance races and relays to adapt to the changing market.

Brown is seeking to bring a more diverse race to Penticton with more race options. The event would be designed around family and take place over the full last weekend in August. He said there would be no changes to his agreement with Penticton over the next two years, and would continue working to bring the International Triathlon Union Multisport event back to the city in five years.

“My commitment hasn’t wavered, but we won’t be set up for success if we remain with Challenge,” he told council.

Coun. Helena Konanz sought assurance Brown would work with the city to improve traffic issues during future events. He promised a more communicative, team-oriented approach with the city in the future.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit asked when a new brand might be announced. Brown said he was currently in negotiations with another organization.

Council agreed to staff's recommended motion to allow an amendment to modify the triathlon brand.

The Challenge Penticton race never gained a firm foothold in the city following the relocation of Ironman to Whistler in 2012. A banner printing mistake misspelling Penticton didn't help the brand in 2015.
The Challenge Penticton race never gained a firm foothold in the city following the relocation of Ironman to Whistler in 2012. A banner printing mistake misspelling Penticton didn't help the brand in 2015.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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