This week, there has been significant conversation regarding the future of small, independent iron distance triathlons.  To recap, this all started with the revelation that Ironman (or more specifically Wanda Sports Holding Company) purchased the popular, independent iron distance race Beach to Battleship from Setup Events.  Furthering the dialog were a variety of posts on social media, and to a lesser extent, two blog posts I wrote (HERE and HERE) regarding how it appears that the Ironman brand monopoly is killing off smaller, independent races.

I’m not against Ironman.  But I really want smaller races to succeed and thrive.  Competition is a good thing, right?!

The only way that smaller, independent iron distance races will survive is if we mount a grass-roots effort to save them.  There are lots of triathletes who are contemplating racing an iron-distance race in 2016, but aren’t necessarily stuck on doing an Ironman brand race.


So, I’m issuing a call-to-action.  Race small.  Go out and support a small, independent iron distance race.

Sign up for Rev3’s full at Cedar Point Amusement Park.

Race the Great Floridian in Clermont, Florida.

Toe the line at the Michigan Titanium.

Grapple with the Bear Lake Brawl.

Do Peasantman.  Or HITS.

Just pick a race that is smaller.  Local.  Independent.  And then brag about it.  Post about it on Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Heck, make it your profile picture on Tinder.  When you do, please use this hashtag:


Let’s get a movement going.  Pick a small race.  I will be.  Won’t you?


2 thoughts on “#RaceSmallIrons

  1. You have been wielding this vendetta for a long time.


    Claiming that you are standing up for the independent races, then promoting HITS and Rev3 (as their Ambassador) which are competing series, not independents.

    Yes, Ironman is a successful brand and business. The races can start to feel generic if you do multiples. But they are a well oiled machine and offer a very well supported event. For the size, I never felt like a number. I had great interactions with other athletes, volunteers and paid staff.

    They are a big part of the boom in triathlon today. They are part of the reason that triathlon has so many new participants. That allows independents a chance because it has become mainstream.

    Despite this, almost all opportunities for professional triathletes has dried up. Few sprints and Olympic distance races have a prize purse. Ironman still maintains a large professional field.

    Escape from Alcatraz just jacked up their fee to $750…for an Olympic race. Price gouging is not just an Ironman thing.

    Yes, completion is good for the sport. But so is the M-dot. Promote all the other events all you want. But vilifying Ironman because of your personal opinion about them is getting old, and promoting other series as “independent” is disingenuous…

    • Hi. Thanks for reading and responding. I really appreciate your perspective.

      Here’s my perspective – I did write several years ago about my dislike of certain aspects of M-Dot races. I don’t believe, however, that I was bashing M-Dot with my most recent posts. On the contrary, I fully understand that people want to do M-Dot races. I get that. My concern is that M-Dot is exercising a monopoly over long distance triathlon – and when that happens,we all as triathletes will lose. If M-Dot pushes out or purchases all other long distance races, then they can raise entry costs, limit options, or otherwise constrict our ability to race. That’s in the nature of many monopolies. All I want is people to have options. That’s why I advocate non-MDot races. It’s not disingenuous for me to take that perspective. It would have been had I said only race Rev3 – but I didn’t.

      At the end of the day, if you like the MDot experience – that’s awesome. If you only want to race M-Dot races, that’s OK. It’s your choice.

      Hope you have great holidays and a very happy New Year. Best of luck with your 2016 season.

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