Rugged Individualist. Certified USA Triathlon Coach & NASM Personal Trainer, Men's Self Improvement Coach. President of Go Farther Sports. National Ranked Triathlete & 100 Mile Grand Slam Ultrarunner, only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thoughts - February 18 - Doing so few triathlons lately?

With all the ultramarathon stuff on the calendar, one athlete asked me whether I was going to do any triathlons this year.

The answer is yes. I originally intended to do about 3-4 triathlons down the NJ shore this year along with the Virginia Double Ironman in October. 

Both the Sandy Hookers and Jersey Shore Triathlon Clubs have nice local races down there. I'll be picking which races to attend as the summer approaches.

Now, the Double Ironman is in question. The Grindstone 100 is the same weekend. So a choice has to be made.

Right now, I'm leaning toward the Grindstone 100. Yes, it is a risky choice. Picking the Grindstone (wiki) would mean three 100 mile races in the same year. This might border on insanity.

Then again, I would love to do the Grand Slam of Ultras one of these years. The Grand Slam involves four 100 mile races in 4 months. Doing three this year might actually help me prepare for that eventuality.

As for the other triathlons? Only 3-4? Yes. Have you seen the race entry fees for triathlons? They are insane!

Entry into the New York City Triathlon, which is ONLY an Olympic Distance race, was $245. Yikes! 

Yes, they did sell out this year, but what happens when they raise prices next year and the year after that and the economic situation in this country gets worse?

Sooner or later, triathlon is going to hit the brick wall of reality. A lot of people these days are struggling to make ends meet. If the triathlon race directors and the townships that charge these race directors for the permits continue the rampant runaway price increases, they will price out the new people interested in the sport.

We might actually see this happening now. Unlike triathlons which cater to those who spend on high-end equipment, ultramarathons share a philosophy of racing on the cheap.

There is an increase of Fat-Ass races (informal races with no entry fees), most venues allow camping, which is much cheaper than a hotel room, and the entry fees of ultras that DO charge are a lot more reasonable than triathlon entry fees.

The result? More newcomers trying out ultras instead of triathlons. At the Holiday Lake 50k last week, about half the people entered for the race were newbies. That is amazing! Just read some of the reports sent in by the newbies!

Participation in ultras has gone way up these past couple of years. These are people who used to go into triathlon. A lot of newbies in ultras also came from a triathlon background. The exodus from triathlon has already begun, in my opinion.

As for ultras, tomorrow is the Febapple 50k. As I stated before, I opted out of this race. I will be there cheering the runners on instead. I will however, race the Cherry Tree 10 Miler in Propsect Park, Brooklyn as a consolation prize, running for the Staten Island Athletic Club.

Next Thursday is the Thursday Night at the Races at the Armory. I'll be in a 10 person 10,000 meter relay. I will actually be SPRINTING around an indoor track. I'll be dusting off those track spikes I haven't used in a while.

Wish me luck in both the Cherry Tree and the Armory relay races. :-)

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