Ironman Saint George known for its beauty and its difficulty has been changed from an Ironman to a 70.3 Half-Ironman. I spent quite a bit of time observing both Twitter and Facebook for reaction to this change. There were a lot of opinions and most were not in favor of this switch. This led me to think about why. Why with so much support would WTC change the race? The answer is simple…..there wasn’t enough support for the race at the 140.6 distance.
I am happy to see this race change and its for one reason. I will race it sooner than had it been a 140.6 distance race. Why? The reason is that there are a lot of other Ironman distance races I have on my to do list before Saint George. I want to race Ironman Florida, Ironman New York, Ironman Lake Placid, Ironman Canada, Ironman Cozumel and Ironman Brazil before I wanted to race Saint George. If I were able to race two Ironman races per year that would mean that it would be 4 years before I would step up to the registration button for IMSG. In that time span this race would have been gone.
The registration for IMSG has declined considerably since it debuted. If that pattern kept going then there is no way that the full distance would be there in four years. If people think that this will hurt the race consider the fact that Ironman California became 70.3 California in 2002 and has flourished since then. The race is early in the year, a month earlier than IMSG, and it still gets top pros and a full list of Age-Groupers to participate. I believe that HIMSG will be the same way. You can train over the winter for this distance and still be able to incorporate other races throughout the year.
The 70.3 distance is a great distance to race and you can race 2 a year with no problem and probably truly get 3-4 in within a year. Having an option to race this in May opens up a schedule to race 70.3 Racine or Rhode Island in July or National Harbor in August. You can then finish the season with 70.3 Austin in late October. Easily fit three into a year with no problems. Of course this type of schedule would eliminate the idea of racing a full, but you can still schedule that in with Ironman Arizona in November and still race HIMSG and one of the others in July or August.
I am very happy that they chose to reduce the distance to a Half-Ironman as I can see the sights and scenes of Utah much faster than had it stayed a full. I may be in the minority based on the reaction from those in my circle, but clearly something had to be done to keep the race.