In late July, questions came to light regarding the Newport Beach Triathlon, scheduled for October 1st.
There was a series of articles posted on CaliforniaTriathlon.org as well as the article posted here:
RACE ORGANIZER ACCUSED OF SELLING NEWPORT BEACH TRIATHLON ENTRIES UNDER “FALSE PRETENSES”
The key point in these stories was that the executive director of the Newport Dunes Resort and Marina where a portion of the event was to take place, stated that the event was “Neither contracted nor permitted to occur.”
Pacific Sports did respond to the initial CaliforniaTriathlon.org article:
you should question the source of your information. We apply for permits, as we have for 39 years, and they are approved in typically around 10 days prior to the event. This is entirely typical. We have sanctioned the event as long as there has been the existence of USA Triathlon. ~ Pacific Sports
CaliforniaTriathlon.org did a great job showing that approvals taking until 10 days prior to the event are not at all typical in the first of two follow up articles.
Change To The Newport Beach ‘Triathlon’
A Statement Appeared On The Newport Beach Triathlon Website Yesterday:
“The Newport Beach Triathlon unfortunately was forced to cancel the swim portion of the event for 2017”
The statement goes on to say that the “Triathlon” will consist of Bike, Transition, and Run.
The swim portion of the event was removed, but they are still calling the event a triathlon. In reality they are now putting on a duathlon.
While there is skill and preparation that goes into the transition, to consider it a separate discipline for purposes of maintaining ‘triathlon’ status is questionable at best and deceitful and dishonest at worst.
While the swim portion was removed from the details, the event is also listed as a Triathlon on Active.com, where registrations are being accepted.
I have sent a message and posted on the Newport Beach Triathlon Facebook page asking if refunds will be offered to those that signed up for the event expecting a legitimate Triathlon. I also attempted to contact Pacific Sports directly, but they had previously blocked me on Facebook after I sent them a question regarding the Triathlon ahead of the article I wrote in July.
Pacific Sports, LLC
This is just the latest in a series of issues relating to events put on by Pacific Sports:
- 2013 Brooklyn Triathlon – postponed to 2014
- 2014 Brooklyn Triathlon – cancelled 6 days prior to the event due to dispute over police fees
- 2016 LA Triathlon – cancelled 4 days prior to the event over the supposed lack of an itemized bill
- 2017 Newport Beach Triathlon – Swim portion cancelled after failure to obtain agreement with venue
Athletes that signed up for the cancelled events reported difficulty in getting refunds, or that they did not receive refunds at all.
Disputes with Employees, Vendors and Contractors were highlighted in the 2nd update on Californiatriathlon.org.
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world.
I am of the belief that it falls to the governing body to take a stand.
First, they cannot sanction this event as a triathlon. The current event does not meet the criteria of a triathlon.
Second, as the governing body it would seem that they have the authority to refuse to certify events if the the company fails to meet a certain standard in putting on events. By holding these organizations to the highest of standards, it will force those organizations to improve their business practices if they wish to continue putting on USAT sanctioned events.
I have reached out to the USAT regarding this situation, and I will post a follow up if they chose to make a statement regarding The Newport Beach Triathlon or Pacific Sports.
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A triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines. Maybe if the competitors are really slow, the transition “might” be considered an endurance discipline.
Wow, counting “transition time” towards an event in the triathlon. I mean, had I known this, I would have started the Quadathlon years ago…Swim, Bike, Transition, Run. I mean, why do a triathlon when you can do a Quadathlon instead?!?!? Your obviously so much better for doing another event 😉
(Note, we aren’t doing a Pentathlon involving transition time between swim and bike, since the Pentathlon as an event already exists at the Olympic level)
Triathlons occasionally have to cancel the swim–usually for water safety reasons. If this happens more than 24h before a sanctioned event, USAT sanctions it as a duathlon instead. If it happens less than 24h before, it still gets considered as a triathlon for the purposes of rating the athletes’ performances. USAT is a legitimate governing body, and this is likely how they will handle it for this race anyway–i.e., it will be considered a duathlon. If there are larger issues with the race director, then indeed USAT should investigate its relationship with that director and consider not sanctioning that outfit’s events in the future–so it is good that you have brought it to their attention. I also agree that to continue marketing it as a triathlon is deceitful–no triathlete on earth considers transition a separate discipline; if it were, getting dressed in the morning would count as “training.”
Technically this isn’t even a duathlon, as a duathlon consists of run-bike-run with two transitions. What Pacific Sports is marketing is a triathlon is nothing more than a glorified and expensive brick workout.
I hope that USAT, as the sanctioning body for triathlon, will finally bring some pressure to bear on Pacific Sports for their repeated deceitful and fraudulent practices. Sadly they’ve been asleep at the switch so far. Who is looking out for the athlete (besides California Triathlon & Marathon Investigation, of course)?
Until Pacific Sports feels some consequences in the marketplace, they will continue to deceive and defraud athletes. As consumers, there are multiple ways that athletes can take action, but all will require some effort. If you’ve given Pacific Sports your money, contact them and demand a full refund. Be persistent. Contact USAT. Contact active.com. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Contact their sponsors and partners. Vote with your wallets and your feet. Warn friends and fellow athletes away from their events. Take to social media.
Thank you Derek for the work you’re doing!
Thanks for the article, although I’m not even remotely surprised. If I recall they had this race cancelled a few years ago due to a similar problem. What I find ironic is that there is a well run splash and dash series, coveathlon, that takes place in the same place. I quit doing his races after the clusterf*ck LA triathlon when they didn’t bring the gear up from Venice to the finish until 2pm. My understanding is USAT wants nothing to do with them and has never sanctioned one of his races. Anyways, keep up the good work.
Amazing Site. Very much enjoyed reading.
How is this supposed to work out for relay teams? Am I supposed to start training to become the greatest “Transitioner?” I also have not received an email from Newport Beach Triathlon to tell me that they’ve taken away 1/3 of the event that my team of 3 will be racing. This is bogus and they better refund the event!!
Seems this race has been denied all permits. Yet they are still marketing the race and, of course, Active.com is still pushing the race.
This was to be my first Triathlon. I’ve been emailing as an attempt to get a refund. They keep sending me pre-typed responses. Very disappointed.
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