I wrote this on Wednesday, and since then WTC has cancelled the program…… but I still feel the same…….
Two years ago I was all set to get my M dot tatoo. I was combining the M Dot with the Om symbol, because these two entities saved my life. The day of my appointment there was a huge snowstorm. The tatoo place closed. I was so upset but I didn’t reschedule.
Now I am so glad I didn’t put the M Dot on my body. Today it would be associated with an organization that I am deeply ashamed of. WTC. World Triathlon Corporation.
Unless you live under a rock you learned yesterday of the Ironman Access Program. If you haven’t heard of it here are the details according to www.ironman.com , with my estimated value next to it in bold.
The annual membership fee is $1,000 USD.
Access Membership Program Benefits:
• Exclusive advance registration to Ironman events
• Two VIP passes per registered event
• One-year subscription to LAVA Magazine $19.95
• 2011 Ironman Lottery entry plus second chance in the Ironman Lottery program $50 (?)
• 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship NBC broadcast DVD $10
• 20 percent discounts on Ironman partner products at shopironman.com and on-site event retail stores…..
• Official membership ID card ZERO, because what I need is another care of keytag.
The above benefits are valid for one year starting from activation date
So essentially……. WTC is saying this: pay is $1,000 per year to have the ability to sign up for our events. don’t get a discount. Just buy the right to spend $600. Get less than $100 value in return.
I don’t know about you….. but we are a middle class family. We are a middle class working family with a child with minor special needs. We pay out of pocket for things not covered by insurance. Sorry son….. screw your therapy… we are joining Ironman Access! If we all had an extra $1,000 lying around ….. I would rather see it go to charity. Does this mean the community slots will soon become a thing of the past as well??????
I always say that the Hawaii Ironman is the best of the best who can spend the money to go. There’s 100% chance there is some magnificently talented age group athlete out there who just doesn’t compete because this sport costs too much. Now…. WTC has made this an elite golf club.
Jokes swirled around yesterday on FaceBook that soon WTC will have you prepay for what you use at the aid stations, that your timing chip will become like a speed pass, charging per item used, and paying your way out of penalty tents.
Here’s the deal for me…… it’s not about the money. I paid $250 for my first Ironman. I willingly now pay $600 to enter the same race. I accept that responsibility. I will be in an Ironman in 2011. I also understand that the system set up is almost amazing. WTC gets 3,000+ volunteers for events because they get a special line at Ironman. So we’ve got people flying to races a year in advance to work an 18 hour day for free….. to have the ability to give the WTC a 100% interest free loan one year before WTC has to produce the product. Now… I know I know…. there are things that need to be paid for in advance, but you get the idea.
Now they’ve got a 70.3 series. And an international distance series. When you cross the finish line of a 70.3 race they call you an Ironman.
Ironman…… to me is not the brand…. it is the distance. If you cross the finish line of a 70.3 race you are a 70.3 finisher. You are not an Ironman finisher. Finish a 140.6 mile race, be it B2B, Silverman, I don’t care. You are an Ironman.
When Ironman North America, namely Graham Fraser brought Ironman Lake Placid to New York State and subsequently Ironman races all over North America….. he was about the athletes. I remember him telling me he would put no more than 1,800 athletes into Mirror Lake, now there are 3,000. It’s not if…. it’s when someone will drown in that lake. I got knocked out. And I was in the sub 60 minute club.
There were special touches that only IMNA could give to the race…. hockey nets bookending each aid station for your trash….. a finish line for every athlete…… a team of individuals (his family) who listened to your concerns, answered your questions and cheered for every single athlete. I feel like Graham gave me the Ironman, he certainly prodded me to do the race!
Maybe I am just an old-fashioned triathlete, because those of you who have come into this sport in the past few years….. you don’t know what this was all like. If you never had the opportunity to experience Graham’s events…. then you just don’t know.
The other thing that upsets me is the new rules for the professionals. It used to be that once you won Kona…. you were qualified for life. That’s how it should remain. You are the Ironman World Champion. Now they have this insane set of rules
. Fees, points….. all geared to enhance their own races. I think it places the pros at a disadvantage. It’s hard enough to make money in this sport, if you qualify as a professional you should be treated as such. This is not how we treat professional athletes in any other sport.
It’s my personal opinion…..and I stress personal…… that WTC just left their goal unattended. They took out their goalie and put another player on the field. It’s going to work for a while. It’s a proven business model and the competition is weak.
But there in the corner, where you least expect it…. is someone waiting to steal the ball. They are not going to do it with money or attacks. They are actually already doing it. They are doing it through treating athletes better, giving them a better product, and not creating the reputation of being…. a corporation…….
That player is Heather Gollnick and her Rev 3 series
. Talk to anyone who has raced one of these events. They love them. I think she and her team are brilliant. take a look at Ironman’s wall on FaceBook…. people are not happy. What they have done is show exactly who they are.
Now…. will I sign up for another Ironman? I likely will be in line for Ironman Florida 2011. I am signed up for a 70.3 race. I will still participate in these events. At some point there athletes will speak. The tables will turn and things will change.
Triathlon is rich in it’s history, albeit a short one. Many of us have been around far too long to allow this kind of stuff to happen.
So keep your eye on that unattended goal. Sooner or later arrogance and elitism will fail. and Gollnick is going to score a big goal.