Which begs the question, why did it go away in the first place???
The Black Diamond Half has hovered around 200 participants. While financially viable, we learned in our first few halfs that athlete experience & safety got messy toward the end of the day. And because we don't particularly want to produce messy events, we cancelled it. Here's why....
Consider the 2018 Ironman Coeur d'Alene with 1,432 athletes that finished under 8:30 (Ironman's official Cut-off). In the last hour of the race, there were 206 eventual official finishers still on the run course - all of them separated by seconds and certainly within sight of each other.
At the 2016 Black Diamond Triathlon, we had only 22 eventual finishers on the course for the last hour, some separated by as much as 15 minutes and miles apart. Not only was it difficult for our run staff, volunteers and radio personnel to keep track of each athlete, each of those athletes at times couldn't even see each other. This eliminated a valuable safety net that Ironman has built in because of their high numbers - the significance of which I hadn't appreciated until after the race. Triathletes look out for each other. Even with a course that's well marked and volunteers in place - things happen. On occasion, well-intentioned athletes make some unexpected turns especially when alone. There were athletes who got lost and others who had a disappointing finish or no finish line experience.. So, discouraged from a messy execution, we cancelled the half for 2017.
We're looking at other potential Skip-Ahead points on the courses so check back if you think this might apply to you. Our goal is to get everyone over the finish line by 4:05pm.
Triathlon's "Cut-Offs" have always felt ugly to us considering the investment of time and money athletes and their families make in preparation for a race and the finish line. It's a tough call for Race Directors, though. We're torn between wanting every athlete to participate in the whole race no matter what, and the reality that leaving a course open indefinitely really impacts volunteers, race staff, the budget and most importantly - athlete safety & experience.
At that Coeur d'Alene 70.3 we mentioned earlier, there were at least 100 athletes who started and didn't finish. Some were cut-off at the swim finish, others on the bike course and run courses. Their day ended - which I suppose is a necessity given the sheer number of athletes Ironman needs to keep track of. Being a smaller race gives us some freedom to create a different experience and that's rewarding for everyone. The natural inclination for a RD is to want great big numbers. More gratifying is producing a great event - no messiness - for everyone involved. That's what we're shooting for.
Thanks for your interest in the Black Diamond Tri - and for reading this to the end! We'd love to honor your preparation in 2019 and serve you up a fantastic experience - including a finish line you'll remember for a long long time. Find RTB Events Here.
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