For athletes taking on the full distance race at Ironman North Carolina this weekend, it won’t be the race anyone was hoping for. Due to severe flooding in the area, the race announced over its official Facebook page last night that the 180-km bike course has been shortened to 80 km. The coinciding Ironman 70.3 North Carolina course will also have a slightly shortened bike course, using the same new 80 km course instead of the standard 90 km.
“The devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew have continued to impact eastern North Carolina with historic flooding,” race organizers wrote in the post. “While New Hanover County, including Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, is back to business as usual, hundreds of citizens in surrounding inland counties along the bike course have been forced from their residences with damage incalculable at this time. Despite the ongoing relief efforts, the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, Pender County, Sampson County, Bladen County, the town of Wrightsville Beach, and the State of North Carolina are maintaining their support for the 2016 Ironman and Ironman 70.3 North Carolina triathlons… taking place on Saturday, October 22.”
It goes on to add that despite the shortened courses for both races, “The 2016 Ironman and Ironmna 70.3 North Carolina triathlons… will remain qualifiers for the 2017 Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championship events, respectively. The allocation of these slots will follow the standard allocation protocol.”
For many Canadians, this was their late-season A-race given its relatively close proximity to the border.
This isn’t the first time this year an Ironman course has been altered in a short time leading up to the race. In May, Ironman Texas’s bike course was shortened by nearly 30 km and several athletes expressed their outrage that the course wouldn’t be the full 140.6 miles.
Athletes are expressing their frustration over social media the same way with Ironman North Carolina.
— Tonya Allen (@tallensjourney) October 18, 2016
— Josh West (@west_josh) October 18, 2016
And just like that – 6 months of training gone to a horrible race idea. At least do 2 loops on bike and make it 100 #imnc
— troy tarwater (@tarwatertt) October 18, 2016