Nobody wants to see a sporting event end in tragedy, but neither do triathletes want to spend hundreds of pounds on a race and have part or all of it cancelled, as has been happening with increasing frequency. It can’t all be blamed on Mother Nature either. The climate might be changing, but so are attitudes to risk – predicated on an increasing blame culture – that means erring on the side of caution like never before. Competitors often sacrifice their entry fees due to hardline ‘no refund’ policies because organisers’ costs are already sunk, and everyone is left feeling compromised and underwhelmed.
There is a paradox here, though. Ironman is billed as the hardest one-day event on the planet, yet its owners preside over a finance-driven model which demands as many bodies on the start-line as possible, regardless of athletic competence.