To the people who love Ironman, the wet bodies a week ago today whetted appetites for a return of the full race.
To the people who view Ironman less fervently? They didnít break a sweat getting to the half-race, known as a 70.3. Nor did most of the regional media.
As officials acknowledge ongoing negotiations to bring back the full monty ó 140.6 miles of swimminí, bikiní and runniní ó possibly on a rotating basis, itís fair to ask this question:
Last Sundayís perfect conditions did attract good crowds downtown for several hours, but nothing approaching the masses or the enthusiasm of Ironman Coeur díAlene the first half dozen years or so it energized the whole community. By the time the last full race was held in 2017, Ironman fatigue had set in. Now, for some reason, supporters believe itís time to plunge into the depths of a full 140.6 again.
We can understand the owners of Ironman, based in China, wanting to capitalize as much as possible. They have an enviable business model bolstered by an army of unpaid volunteers doing much of the work and high entrance fees kicking revenue into a full sprint. Communities along the Ironman circuit also make financial and other concessions to subsidize what they hope is positive publicity and maybe even a bit of a thrill for the locals.
Letís look at that publicity for a moment.
Last Sunday, KREM TV in Spokane was proudly represented at Ironman 70.3 CdíA. The Press deployed a sports writer, a news reporter and two photographers. Most of the following dayís paper was packed with Ironman news, features and photos, but outside that and KREM coverage, nobody else seemed to notice. The Spokesman-Review dedicated its regional event coverage to its backyard basketball bonanza, and the other TV stations in Spokane were focused elsewhere than Ironman. That should tell negotiators something. Also telling is that readership of Ironman articles on cdapress.com fell far below typical numbers for front-page type stories.
Yes, these are snapshots that certainly donít paint an entire picture. But they should not be ignored.
The sense here is that Ironman fatigue remains alive and largely unwell.