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IRONMAN Kona fallout: Messick and co start to pick up pieces – Elite News

IRONMAN Kona fallout: Messick and co start to pick up pieces – Elite News
IRONMAN Kona fallout: Messick and co start to pick up pieces – Elite News

The first two components of our interview with the CEO of IRONMAN Andrew Messik took a take a look at how the IMWC finds itself in its present difficult scenario – and what it’s doing about it.

Unsurprisingly, there are a number of sensible points to cope with – and take flak on board – and that is the main focus now.

The first query is how they are going to cope with stakeholders, sponsors, broadcasters and many others who could have issue supporting each occasions.

Will splitting up the venue have any business impression?

“Well, you see, I feel we’re going to be pragmatic, and I’ve been going again and forth with a lady named Kristin Mayer, who’s a implausible age group athlete, however she additionally owns a ladies’s triathlon and biking attire firm referred to as Betty Designs .

“She’s way more excited by Kona in 2023 than the opposite location. So I do not suppose we’re going to be morons and say that in the event you’re Betty or in case your product line caters to feminine athletes, we’re going to signal you up to exhibit you within the males’s race on the expo.

“These are issues we’re engaged on and we all know budgets are tight and not everybody can do the whole lot. But I feel our essential sponsors might be ready to current themselves in each locations.

“But we additionally need Kona to stay a uniquely Hawaiian occasion. And the totally different venue and the totally different vacation spot, I feel once we announce it, folks will see that as a worthy venue and one that’s culturally totally different. And that is why we have now to obtain each on the identical time and I’m assured that we are able to do it.”

Photo Credit Kona Scenic 2022 Getty Images for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Getty Images for IRONMAN]

The subsequent query is, what does Messick suppose are the largest challenges when it comes to internet hosting that non-Kona, single-gender occasion yearly that athletes and age-groupers will nonetheless aspire to?

Can anyplace compete with Kona?

“I feel St George in May was a reasonably good occasion. And I feel it was totally different in each manner, which I believed was fairly cool. It wasn’t attempting to be Hawaii. It tried to be authentically the American West. And I believed it was nice. That gave us confidence that athletes would come, our companions would come, folks can be completely satisfied.

“Although on the identical time we anticipated that this could be a one-off factor. So I feel St. George helped us understand that in a spot that is not Hawaii, we are able to provide a very good expertise for our athletes.

ST GEORGE, UTAH - MAY 7: Fenella Langridge of Great Britain and Laura Siddall of Great Britain compete on the bike during the 2021 IRONMAN World Championships on May 7, 2022 in St. George, Utah.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN

“And so, you see, I feel all of us recognize the 40-yr historical past that we had in Kona, and no person desires to break that streak, and we would like to keep in Kona. We need Hawaii to proceed to be an essential a part of Ironman. But issues are altering. And I inform my group that on a regular basis. I’m saying we have now to settle for that Ironman is sufficiently old to have a very wealthy story, nevertheless it’s not so previous that the story is strangling us. We can nonetheless innovate. We can at all times do new and various things.

We can nonetheless take dangers and be daring. And we do.

“The true north for me in all of this is that I think the women’s race this October women deserve their own spotlight. That’s why we do it. And going back to a race day and trust me, my inbox is full of people saying how could you do that? And I’ll send them a very nice message back saying that’s why we’re doing this. And then people will argue with me less.”

Split brings new potentialities

And whereas there are clearly many challenges to be overcome, many would argue that there are certainly many potential advantages to be gained from the present scenario, to which Messick agrees.

“Of course there are nice alternatives there too. I made a joke that Marino Vanhoenacker would come out of retirement like this, and I say that in jest, however an athlete like Marino was among the finest athletes of all time in our sport. And for causes associated to his personal private physiology, he simply could not do his greatest in a sizzling and humid atmosphere. And should not such athletes even have an opportunity to win world championships?

“I feel perhaps tennis or golf are good examples of how totally different kinds and various kinds of athletes thrive in several environments. And again to 70.3 worlds that we rotated, we actually noticed, other than the 2 day half, we noticed how thrilling it’s to ship this race to totally different components of the world and totally different circuits. And that was actually constructive.

“And it has been constructive not just for the professionals on the entrance of the race, but in addition for athletes who used to race in Clearwater a number of instances or Vegas a number of instances, and now it is in a distinct place yearly. And yearly folks say, I really need to go to New Zealand, I really need to go to South Africa, I really need to go to this metropolis in France, I really need to go to Chattanooga. So a rotating race provides one thing to that.”

Kona 2023 KO a bitter capsule

But the draw back to that is that many athletes thought they certified for Kona in 2023 and will not be racing on the Big Island now. What are his ideas on this?

“I feel a part of the suggestions that we’re getting proper now and that we anticipated is that it is onerous for folks to interact with one thing actually totally different and actually new. And it is particularly onerous once we’re telling folks, guys, you are not racing in Kona, and we’re not going to let you know the place you are racing. Yes, and we perceive that. But on the identical time, I feel we really feel a reasonably large accountability to the athletes who’ve already certified for Kona. We know they are not going to Kona.

“Please don’t make non-refundable flight lodging. And so we will not let you know the place you are racing proper now, however we are able to let you know it will not be Kona, and we are able to inform the ladies you are not racing on Thursday, you are racing on Saturday. It’s the most effective we are able to do in the mean time and as quickly as we are able to say extra we’ll do it.”

But what about those that have already booked the flights or the Airbnbs and such – what’s the message for them?

“To the extent that folks discover themselves in actual conditions the place they haven’t any selection, they need to flip to us. But we’re 11 months away from the race and there is a sure degree of testing that folks have to undergo. But look, we do not attempt to take folks for a trip and we have at all times been versatile and useful with sure athletes.”

The Frodeno Factor

One professional athlete who stands out from most is Jan Frodeno, who was aiming to do his Kona Swan Song in 2023. What contact did Messick and his workforce have with him?

“Jan and I have been going back and forth for the past few days or so. I told him how excited we were to see him try to win his sixth World Championship. We hope he is in Kona in October as Chelsea Sodaro said the highlight of their race was Jan Palani presenting her ice cream!”

And as we wrap up the interview, it is clear that Messick was greater than ready for lots of adverse reactions – and would not draw back from them.

“The IRONMAN community cares a lot about it,” he tells me. “People who care about IRONMAN care quite a bit and that is why they’ve held robust opinions, they specific them, and that is so a lot better than the choice the place folks do not care.

“And if people want to give it to me, they can give it to me. I will listen and carefully consider the feedback, and I would much rather have lots of people who care about giving me their opinions than a bunch of people who don’t care if they respond one way or the other.”