Well, within 24 hours of the WTC announcing their new Ironman Access, the WTC has cancelled the program. Immediately after announcing the program yesterday, the blogs ignited with commentary (here and here for example) and Facebook exploded with criticism and outrage for the program. Despite the fact that the program “sold out” in its first day of availability, the WTC has decided to cancel the program and refund the money to anyone who signed up. They even admitted that they made a mistake and apologized. The people have spoken.
The primary reason for the Ironman Access program, at least the reason stated in the video, was to open up more slots in races that were being taken by individuals who would register for multiple events and then only race in one of them. So, if this is really a problem, how should, if at all, should the WTC address it? My first thought was to have some sort of confirmation that you intended to race. If you do not confirm your intention, that slot is opened back up. The problem with my idea is that if a slot opens up, chances are it won’t be soon enough for someone else to train and be ready for the event. They would have to be training long before they knew a slot opened up.
Another reason for the Ironman Access program that was mentioned on Ironman’s Facebook page was to allow people to pay a premium to sign up in advance as to order to prevent them from having to travel to the race site twice – once to volunteer and one race. I, for one, immensely enjoyed my volunteering experience at IM Wisconsin this year as a precursor to signing up for 2011. That said, I can see how that may be a pain (both logistically and financially) for someone racing their 2nd, 3rd, or more IM race. If races keep filling up, start new races. But please, please, please don’t buy up existing independent races.
Now, if we can just get enough people to revolt against the annual raising of entry fees maybe we can see some more action from the WTC. I know, I’m dreaming.
*Yes, I watch Glee with my wife. Please don’t think any less of me.