Duathlete Luis Lora’s guest post about MultiRace’s decision to shorten the USAT Duathlon Long Course National Championship course caused a stir! The USAT Duathlon Committee reported to me that it has followed the issue closely ever since Lora originally submitted his letter to USAT Magazine. In recent weeks, the Committee and USAT have taken action.
According to Committee Co-Chair Dave Lasorsa, USAT National Events Coordinator Cody Crowther contacted Miami Man race director Andre Quirino of MultiRace. After speaking with Luis and getting more information, Cody asked Andre for reasoning behind the decision.
Below is Andre’s response to his company’s decision to shorten the long course nationals from a 10K first run to a 3.2K first run. I’m also including a copy of the letter MultiRace sent to its athletes after the race.
Let’s continue a healthy discussion! Post your thoughts in the comments below. I’d like to believe stronger communication between athletes, USAT and its race director partners leads to higher-quality events we’re all excited to participate in. Duathlon is a wonderfully challenging sport with an intimate community that I for one would like to see grow. Let’s work together to make that happen. — Du It For You
I am in receipt of your recent (USAT Magazine) letter to the editor and I would like to personally address the various points you mentioned.
First, I would like to convey that I always encourage feedback from all our participants. Whether it is good, bad, or otherwise, direct feedback helps MultiRace (and USAT) improve the events and grow the sport and its various athletic disciplines. While I completely understand your feelings of frustration in this matter based on the points you brought up, I hope that a deeper understating of the overall picture will abate your perception.
The ”generic response” you allude to is in fact quite accurate even if it is light in details. The truth of the matter is that the combined issues of both logistics and athlete feedback necessitated the change in distance.
While your example of a small/local 5K gaining early access to Sea World seems like a logical comparison, it is in fact quite a different situation at Zoo Miami. It is true that early access to Zoo Miami can be gained by small/local 5K’s and conventional wisdom would ask why can’t MultiRace/USAT with its National Championship event gain access?
Those events that gain early access to Zoo Miami are entering via the public accessible paths that are closed during the early hours, however, the Miami Man Duathlon course would require entering via the restricted (non-public) areas that run adjacent or near the animal paddock sleeping areas at a time where any disturbance is to be kept at a minimum. Also, zoo staff & keepers are actively working in this area in the morning preparing/feeding the animals and with the many other tasks required before the zoo opens to visitors. This is a Zoo Miami decision but it is quite understandable when looked at from their perspective of controlling and minimizing stress to the animals.
Further, it is always difficult in deciding when the physical challenges of a particular race are too high or too low for the intended participant target group. You mentioned the heat of our Florida weather and the ‘sauna’ it created last year with the strong morning rain. This is just one of the many aspects that have to be considered, however, it is simply impossible to have 100% participant consensus on such matters.
I will concur that we could have done a better job with the public announcement of the course change. In hind-sight, a direct email to those already registered would seem to have been appropriate. This has been noted and I thankyou for mentioning it… this is an example of participant feedback helping us improve the quality of our events going forward.
In regard to your point of a ‘questionnaire’, a post-race survey was sent out to all race-day participants. Below is a copy of said survey with the original email date of November 26th. It is through the survey responses (in addition to direct participant feedback) that we formulate our action points for the following year’s event. We took several months in considering the racer feedback, the logistical issues with Zoo Miami, the current course and its alternatives to arrive at (in conjunction with USAT) at the best possible solution. Obviously, as I stated earlier, it is impossible the achieve 100% consensus, but we endeavor as much as is possible to do so.
On a personal note, I would also like to emphatically state that ALL our participants, whether triathletes, duathetes, aquabikers, or aquathletes, have an equal level of attention and my upmost & sincerest effort is made to ensure that no one is left to feel marginalized. I hope I was able to shed a bit more light on this situation and as always, please feel free to contact me with your comments, questions, or concerns.
COPY OF SURVEY: