Ultra520K Canada will push athletes to the limit for a final time in 2018.
Steve Brown, founder and race director of Ultra520K Canada, announced in a press release that the ultra distance triathlon will be held two more times.
“This has not been an easy decision, however after considering this move and consulting with my family over Christmas time, I finally came to the conclusion that the time had come to move on to retirement,” said Brown, who will be 67 when the final Ultra520K takes place. “I’m not getting any younger and I have been presented with the opportunity to spend more time travelling and enjoying time with my family.
“I also wanted to be fair to the athletes that have been so wonderful to work with over the years and to give those people that have said, ‘I will do this one day’ that final opportunity to do just that,” Brown continued. “It is kind of a now or never situation. We have places available for 2017 and for those that feel they need another year to get ready then 2018 will be that final date.”
Another factor led to Brown making this decision and that is the fact “within the sport there has been kind of an explosion of other events around the world.”
Brown listed off that Brazil, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico and other countries are hosting events.
The organizers are branding them for themselves in what Brown has described as being “knock offs”.
With other countries hosting, Brown is finding it hard to attract international athletes in what he said is an expensive sport. In the past Ultra520K Canada has had nearly 30 athletes compete. Brown also said that North Americans are still Ironman-centric.
Last year’s event had 14 athletes compete. Brown said Spain ran their first event last year attracting 50 athletes and are expected to grow it to 100.
“I’m sitting here struggling today with eight people signed up,” said Brown. “North America has a whole different set of circumstances. In other countries ultra distance racing is far more acceptable than it is here in North America.”
Brown said he recognizes that athlete qualifications have often delayed people in taking that leap of faith to sign up.
For the final two years Brown is waiving the need for the qualifying race and time, however, organizers still need to see a racing resume to make sure triathletes aren’t under qualified.
The event is still by “invitation only.”
Brown also reassured the same quality event that they have come to expect will be offered with no change to course or atmosphere of fellowship and goodwill amongst those that participate.