Move the Ironman 70.3 World Championship earlier in the season

The Crank has just one thing on his mind this week ... he wants Ironman to put the 70.3 world title at an earlier date.

| September 7, 2017 | NEWS

Swim start at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell am See, Austria.

Swim start at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell am See, Austria.

Photo >Frank Wechsel / spomedis

Ok the Crank is a little confused this weekend. While we normally trawl the triathlons of the world for hits and misses, this week we have to identify the world 70.3 titles as a miss.

The idea of having a world title is to showcase the best of the best. It is the one chance of the year that all the best athletes are in the one place at the one time and are ready to go. Triathlon is so inundated with races that the chances of full fields are remote. Pros tend to race at events for certain reasons and rarely do we see packed fields. Yet we know the biggest talking points in the world of triathlon occur before a big day out. For years the Crank has been calling Kona the dog years race. That is, everything is multiplied by 7. The pressure, the field, the noise surrounding the event and the hype. And, while Ironman maintains this event, there is no one who will get close to it in terms of prestige and attention. Other races around the world can only dream of the noise Kona generates. Which is why the positioning of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship is such a fail.

Ironman nailed it when they made the 70.3 world title a traveling road show. Taking it out of Clearwater and then out of Vegas was a huge win. Putting it in different locations certainly helped the local age groupers get there and, in a world a “time shortedness,” the 70.3 option is a good one. But this is not so much about the age groupers as the pros.

In short, the race needs to be put forward in the year to get the best athletes there. And, while the names on the start list in the 2017 edition of the race are good, they are by no means the best race set up. By that we mean many athletes have an eye on Kona, which means they use the 70.3 worlds as a tune up. It is a smart play, but does it ensure the best racers in the best condition for racing? No.  Does it ensure that the racers are ready to roll and be at 100 percent? No. In short the 70.3 worlds are a tune up for some and a legit race for others. So that leaves us, the trifosi, confused. It leaves the sport, too, without the best product. And the answer is simple. Move the damn race forward in the year!

That way we get the best athletes on the line with one intent. To win the world title unencumbered.

If this argument lost on you here are some stats that Ironman provided. See how long you can reel these off before your mates start walking away from you.

  • Chattanooga is the sixth city in history to host the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship following Clearwater, Florida (USA) (2006-2009), Henderson, Nevada (USA) (2010-2013), Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (CAN) (2014), Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand (AUT) (2015), and Mooloolaba, Queensland (AUS) (2016)
  • 62 percent of registered participants (2,801 athletes) are male
  • 38 percent of registered participants (1,713 athletes) are female
  • 43 is the average age of male registrants, and 41 is the average age of female registrants
  • Bob Scott (USA) is the oldest participant at 86, while Enrico Piseuna (PHL) and Aaria Alejandra Aguilar (CRI) are the youngest at 18
  • 10 athletes will be celebrating their birthdays on race day
  • 48 of the 50 U.S. states are accounted for, with the greatest number hailing from California (279), Florida (151), Texas (150), New York (116) and Colorado (103)
  • More than 185,000 registered athletes compete in IRONMAN 70.3 races each year
  • Since the series began in 2006, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has been controlled by Australia (five champions), Germany (five champions) and Great Britain (three champions). The United States and Switzerland have had two winners, while Canada, New Zealand and Spain each have one winner
  • Over 2,000 volunteers will help make the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship a success