Duathlete and coach Luis Lora, who lives and trains in Winter Park, Florida, composed a reply to MultiRace race director Andre Quirino’s response to Lora’s original letter, published in USAT Magazine and on Du It For You, about MultiRace’s decision to shorten the USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championship, held in Miami this year.
You can read the original letter about the switch here, and the follow up here. USAT reps reached out to Quirino, who sent them the same response he sent to Lora (thanks copy-and-paste!) All this took place 3-4 weeks ago. To date, the race course remains its shortened self, and the duathlon community has heard nothing official from either USAT or MultiRace.
The frustration stems from a) a race director’s decision to shorten a ITU world-qualifying long-course event, seemingly without exhausting all other options and b) do it without first conducting a proper marketing survey geared toward duathlon participants and c) do it without effectively communicating the change to athletes.
In the letter below, which Lora sent to Quirino on August 1, Lora proposes a solution. He also provides further comments. Duathletes: What would you like to see happen? Post your comments here. The USAT Duathlon Committee and USAT will see them. I’ll make sure of it! — Du It For You.
<<Good Afternoon Andre,
I want to thank you first and foremost for taking the time out to read and provide a response to my letter. I also appreciate your diligence in answering the various points in my letter.
In regards to the Zoo access, as you mentioned, my comparison was just that. A simple comparison. As you explained, the logistics between the two scenarios are very different and even in the aforementioned 5K, there is ¾ of a mile run through the parking lot to ensure the full 5K distance since there are some areas that the event cannot enter. So I completely understand not having full access to the Zoo and the well-being of the animals being their top priority.
The comparison was provided to illustrate how from the outside, without detailed explanation, it can be interpreted as a lack of desire to push through obstacles. This could have been remedied with clear and detailed communication as you eluded to toward the end of your response, and I appreciate you acknowledging that.
Despite the obstacle with the zoo, it seems there is plenty of road available to provide a longer distance on the first run (even if it ended up being two loops).
The road inside the park, but not inside the zoo, that ends on one side at SW 124th Ave and Talbot Rd on the other end could provide a simple out and back addition to create a longer run. It also has a path that’s not in the zoo that runs parallel to it for a major part of the road.
Now, I am not going to pretend I am a race director and know the ins and outs of picking, establishing and designing a run course–that is your expertise. Nor do I intend to tell you how to do your job, so I hope that my comments do not come across that way. Again, from the outside, it just doesn’t seem that all options were exhausted.
I agree that 100% consensus is impossible. There are too many variables and too many different opinions. The question that still stands is do you really feel or think you got the general consensus of the participating duathletes?
I would argue that you have not. I am familiar with the survey you referenced. USAT and the race directors they partner with are very consistent in obtaining feedback after their major events. It’s an important part of continuing to provide a product that athletes want to attend, which is great. That survey was an overall survey for the race.
In my letter I eluded to a survey, which again has minimal to almost zero cost, specifically about the proposed change to the duathlon. You mentioned that it took monthsof considering the information to get to the ultimate decision, which means there was ample time to inquire further with the athletes that spent the time and money to participate in the actual event.
In regards to athlete feedback and considering the race conditions to ensure the event is neither too hard nor too easy, it still appears to me to be a miss.
After writing and sharing my letter, I have yet to encounter an athlete that truly thinks shortening the first run to 2 miles was the best thing for the sport of duathlon. The letter I wrote has been shared and viewed by over 200 people and none have disagreed with it, several have shared it and commented that they agree that a National Championship event shouldn’t have been altered that way.
I understand you might have received some feedback on the long first run, but no one, not just MultiRace, investigated further with the collective of duathlon participants. You would have found different results had it been investigated with a specific follow-up survey.
Additionally, if the course conditions in Miami are just too hard to have such a long event, why are we not seeing a reduction in length for the long-course triathlon?
MultiRace put on for several years one of my favorite duathlons in Cocoa Beach, so I know that your organization puts on quality events and can be inclusive of all the different races.
My frustration isn’t directed at you as a person and race director or even solely at MultiRace for that matter. A National Championship race is a joint venture between several parties. The true frustration comes in because none of the multiple parties involved either individually, or collectively, thought to investigate further, communicate broadly and effectively, or treat this National Championship event with the same high reverence and respect that us duathletes treat itwith as we train and prepare for it.
Again Andre, I want to thank you for taking out the time to respond, as I know you are very busy running an organization. Thank you for engaging me in this conversation.>>