I haven't gotten to the point where I am thinking about doing a long distance triathlon yet. Maybe (probably) one day I will be struck by the urge, but I haven't yet felt the need. My boyfriend has done a 70.3 distance, the Orlando Ironman 70.3, and plans to go on to do a full next year. His registration for Orlando 70.3 was my introduction to the cost of Ironman - I had no idea, I was appalled. I know that triathlon often seems like a sport for the affluent, but this just blew me away. As did Ironman's publication, Lava, which we got a subscription to from aforementioned Ironman competition. The cover boasts that it is for the serious triathlete - the cream of the crop I guess, because the rest of us who don't feel ready - or hell, can't afford the Ironman sanctioned events - are not serious about their sport. It kind of irks me.
Then today we see the news about Ironman Access. In the words of Chris McCormack: "$1000 and you get...f**k all."
Before this, I did have respect for the institution. I was a little envious of those who wore the mdot, and hoped I would one day join their ranks. But now....not so much.
On the plus side of all this backlash against Ironman, I did discover Revolution3, whose aim is to make triathlon available for everyone, and who understands that it's not just the athlete - it's the spouse, the family, the spectator, the volunteer....it takes everyone to make up the whole of this wonderful triathlon lifestyle. I also signed a petition at Supporters of Rev3 urging them to expand and maybe even start doing some full 140.6's. Who knows, maybe there will be another company that can stand up to the WTC.
**Update: Mad props to Ironman for listening to their customers. Here's a statement from Ironman CEO Ben Fertic.