Focusing on the Important Things

The announcement I have been expecting for several weeks came on Sunday the 28th. Due to the ITU Long Course World Championships, there will not be a Silverman Full or Half Triathlon in 2011. I was hoping that would not be the case, but I can completely understand the decision. I respect the choice of Lowery Multisport and applaud the courage it took to decide to not host both events. ITU Worlds is a prestigious event and this is only the second time that it has been held in the US. Silverman is a challenging and prestigious event in it's own right. Why should either race be diluted by attempting to hold both events? Logistically, I don't see how Lowery Multisport could hold both Silverman and ITU Worlds, on the same weekend - closing roads for two days, finding volunteers to be out on course for two days, ect. And to have two races of such different lengths on the same day is asking for trouble - we all know that triathletes are not the best at thinking mid-race! The focus of the weekend needs to be on the athletes from around the world competing in the championship event and those athletes deserve a championships as well run as Silverman has been in the last six years. There is only one way to do that.

What I don't like seeing is the anger from some people at the choice that Lowery Multisport has made and hope it is just the initial, emotional response of athletes attached to an event. Running an event like Silverman requires a lot of time, dedication and a very thick skin. It is a full time job - I have seen the Lowery's discussing Silverman planning in April. Athletes do not see the behind the scenes work that has made the race the one we all love. To me, it feels selfish to demand that they attempt to produce two events - ITU Worlds and Silverman - to the standards that we have come to expect from Lowery Multisport. (And I have a streak to worry about, so...) Instead of getting upset and accusing the race organization of "selling out" we should be proud that our little race has garnered the attention of the world's stage. The competition for an ITU World Championships is fierce and this is a huge honor - both for Silverman and Lowery Multisport. Since as athletes, we feel a sense of ownership in Silverman, we should be willing to make the ITU Worlds a rousing success. If qualifying for Team USA is not in the cards, then show support in other ways. I for one am hoping to make the trip to Henderson next year - either as an athlete or a volunteer.

And in 2012, when the World's Most Grueling Triathlon returns, I will be there. And I hope that many new friends in the Silverman family will be making the trip after a successful ITU Long Course World Championships.

Comments

  1. Great post. I could not agree more.

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  2. Well stated. Would you be willing to post this on ST (where the typical idiotic commentators are having a field day with this announcement)?

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  3. Lisa - Posted link on ST just after Facebook link.

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  4. Love it. Perspective is key. Hope to see you again in 2012.

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  5. Bravo. I completely agree. I think I will be volunteering that day. hope to see ya there!

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  6. I think what you miss is that everyone commenting on the Silverman facebook page has "liked" the race, and has respect for the organization. To oversimplify this into a black and white matter, casting those who disagree with you as angry, idiotic, or any other pejorative, is unfortunate and the saddest kind of thinking. (Note that I recognize that "idiotic" was a term used by one of your commenters, and not you, but I'm addressing everything at once here)

    Like it or not, WTC and the ITU have a proven track record of taking independent races and race organizers and burning away their individuality, independence, and the intangible "spirit" that made those events great. With both organizations making overtures to Silverman, it is a natural and reasonable line of thought to fear that Silverman as we know it is a thing of the past.

    What those who disagree with you crave is reassurance. That could have come in the form of maintaining the Iron Distance course (which could easily run side by side with the ITU championships-- it would not be all that different than how Silverman has existed to date) or some expression that Silverman proper would return in 2012. While I admire your optimism that Silverman as we know it will return, I don't share your absolute confidence that it will be the case. I will be thrilled when and if I can join you in feeling that confident. To put it more succinctly, I wouldn't say I'm angry about Silverman's decision at all, but I feel some fear that the Silverman of the past might be gone, and share your hope that it will return in 2012.

    Most importantly, I'd like to see some expression from you that is less oversimplified. Just as I recognize that your points are valid, it would be nice to see some perspective from you, and your commenters, recognizing that everyone has a honest, sincere love for the event, and a desire to see it continue as we have loved it in the past. Our differences beyond that are a matter of perspectives, not a matter of one side being "idiots" and the other "right."

    Best of luck qualifying for ITUlverman. ;)

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  7. Robert - Perspective is always nice and this is far from black and white - no one is right and I would never call anyone names. I know everyone loves the event and want to see it held year after year - that fact is undeniable, which was why I did not mention it. I do have to agree that there is a sense of uncertanty revolving around 2012 and that may be where a lot of the anger from the early postings was coming from. Am I 100% confident that Silverman will be back in current form in 2012? No. Have I always worried about the WTC strangling or buying out the race? Yes, espcially when IMAZ moved to November. WTC does have a habit of killing the competition if they do not sell out.

    Two points of clarification - Lowery Multisport bid for the ITU Worlds, much as cities bid for the Olympics. So ITU is not going after them, per se (I also do not have any experiece with ITU racing or the organization, so...) Also, I have looked at the maps for the ITU race - on the bike, it would work to hold both on the same day, just turn the ITU racers around sooner like we do with half now. The confusion would come on the run - there is a signifigant differenct between the two run course instead of one race does one lap and the other does two. With the amount of complaints people had regarding the Myrtle Beach run and people cutting the course, I would not want to be the volunteer in charge of making sure the right racers turn around in the right spots.

    Thanks for the comments.

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  8. Hi Tracy,

    Thanks a lot for the clarifications. I'm glad to see that we all recognize a mutual love for the sport and the event in one another. I very sincerely hope SM is back in 2012, and I'll be there for sure if it is. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's both the most fun and most well organized race I've ever participated in (though admittedly not at your level).

    Thanks a lot for the thoughtful response. Keep up the good work, take care, and here's to us all meeting at Silverman in 2012. :)

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