Canada is down a full Ironman event.
Ironman Canada and the Town of Huntsville announced on Jan. 11 that the Ontario locale would no longer host the full-distance Ironman Muskoka race. Instead, the town has signed a one-year deal to host the half-distance Ironman 70.3 race this July.
The move leaves Canada with two full Ironman races in 2016: Subaru Ironman Canada here in Whistler on July 24 and Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Quebec on Aug. 21.
Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison told the Huntsville Forester that the town lost $100,000 on the 2015 edition of the race and feared a repeat shortfall once again in 2016 and 2017 as part of the three-year pact the town and Ironman Canada had signed. He added there was mutual concern from the overarching organizers as well and felt a change was in both parties' best interests. The town will not incur any penalties for the contract's cancellation, the Forester reported.
"I met with representatives of Ironman Canada in Toronto and they weren't particularly thrilled with the results either. They like to have about 2,000 people at these events and they only had about 1,500," Aitchison told the paper.
The mayor noted that part of the reason for the race's lagging attendance was the challenging terrain in the Muskoka region, as the course was nicknamed "Beauty and the Beast."
"(Ironman Canada) thought in part a full Ironman on these hills was a little too difficult. The ones that sell out are the ones that are flat. Arizona has no problem, Miami has no problem," Aitchison told the paper.
The 2015 Subrau Ironman Canada, with its various ups and downs, had roughly 2,100 people register and 1,950 line up on the day of the race.
Subaru Ironman Canada race director Evan Taylor deferred a request for comment to Ironman's head office. A spokesperson replied to an email saying the organization did not expect the race's cancellation to create any ripple effect in the direction of the local event.
"No changes anticipated. Looking forward to another great year for Ironman Canada in beautiful Whistler and Pemberton," the spokesperson replied.