Submitted by Patty Swedberg 07.19.18
What a great playground we are a part of - Multisport! It's a playground filled with tenacious, fun, driven people who seek challenges, show courage, and experience deeply. At RTB, our primary objective is to Create opportunities for fun and personal achievement through Multisport. It's our mission, as a matter of fact, and we take it seriously for the athletes who invest their time, money and energy at our races. Under that mission our primary value is Safety - and combined with the mission, these are the filters through which we make policies about participation, and many tough decisions on race day whether athletes might continue, or not, when experiencing some challenges.
Below I address some of the decisions we've come to over the last 10 years and 46 races we've produced. Many of these policies were put in place in hindsight when we experienced a tough situation and I made a poor choice. You've probably noticed that not all race producers make the same decisions, and in fact that's true. Governing bodies and Insurance Companies leave surprisingly widely open doors giving RD's a lot of freedom to make decisions about participation. Below are the decisions we've made based on our level of risk tolerance, parenting student athletes, and on the wisdom of my co-workers and course directors who've helped shape RTB events.
Every event season we get multiple requests to have kids racing at our events. We've set a minimum age of 15 at all RTB events and make few exceptions. But exceptions are made on occasion and here are the circumstances and information to consider before contacting us if you are <15, or are the parent of one.
Swim Races: We'll consider exceptions if the athlete has swam competitively for a year or more and has completed the chosen race distance successfully. AND we prefer them to be in a wetsuit.
Triathlons: The swim standard is the same as above and running/walking is typically not an issue. Cycling is the toughest hurdle for <15's in an adult triathlon and permission to race rests heavily on our assumption that all the athletes who've entered come prepared and experienced by cycling in the conditions that happen on race day: (In fact, this is what athletes agree to when they register).
- Where vehicles can often be very close and motorists voice or demonstrate their frustrations
- Where potholes, glass, slippery road conditions, or poor visibility could be present
- Where signage needs to be recognized
- Where quick decisions and actions are often called for to avoid danger
- Where multiple riders ride in close proximity jockeying to race their best
- Where rules that prohibit blocking & drafting apply.
Typically kids who've ridden for a few years on the road and are comfortable doing that alone are the kids we consider making an exception for. Of course, the parents of those kids need to be comfortable with them doing that too - and have demonstrated that before they come to us asking for an exception.
One more thing - The rules of triathlon state drafting is illegal, so having a parent shadow or follow a young athlete isn't legally possible - nor fair to other competitors.
If you have a child that doesn't meet a requirement yet, consider having them participate in a relay - and work toward meeting the other objectives before considering an RTB triathlon.
You triathletes are a tough bunch, and a when things get tough, you want to push through to the finish line. Circumstances like asthma or SIPE on the swim, or falls on the bike can jeopardize a finish line for an athlete. Here's what you need to know if you get injured or have a medically-related challenge.
- We want you to cross the finish line and will work with you to make that happen as best we can
- If you see medical at transition or out on the course, you are not automatically DQ'd. Medical will address the issue and get you back out on the course if at all possible. For example - If you come in to T2 after a fall on your bike and have some road rash and medical can bandage you and get back out safely, you'll keep racing.
- On the other hand, if at some point on the course you weren't able to complete for a medical reason, your next finish will be on another day. For example, if you fall on the bike and don't feel well enough to get back on, but want to complete the run, we're going to say no.
THE BIG PICTURE
Many of these decisions boil down to a staffing issue. On race day we have many directors on staff: athlete services, medical, finish line, aid station, and multiple directors on the swim/bike/run courses. In addition to 70-100 volunteers, these folks look after the overall course conditions and respond to athlete emergencies/incidents as necessary. We aren't staffed to give individual attention to any one athlete during the race. If an athlete requires individual attention, any of the directors have the authority to remove an athlete from the race so they can keep their focus on keeping conditions safe for everyone.