Drought Jeopardizes Wildflower Triathlon
“It’s the largest triathlon in the world and this year we are gonna have to move it,” said Chelsea Modlin, the marketing manager for the California Park Company. Severe drought is jeopardizing the swim portion of the hugely popular Wildflower Triathlon now in its 32nd year. The race takes place on May 2 to 4.
Tri-California Events, the company that puts the Wildflower Triathlon together, said the swimming portion is still a go but will make a final decision in April. Modlin notes, “This is the lowest it’s been in history, so it is as you can see, extremely sad.”
The last time the swimming portion of the triathlon had to be modified was in 1993, when the Central Coast was in a drought.
Nearly 7,500 athletes race at Wildflower every year. The long course race which takes place on the Saturday is a highly competitive event drawing a deep pro field. Last year’s race was won by Jesse Thomas on the men’s side and Heather Jackson on the women’s side. Canada’s Jeff Symonds and Tenille Hoogland were fourth and fifth respectively last year.
Colleen Bousman, the president of Tri-California Events said, “At the heart, we’re a triathlon company, and so we’re gonna do everything we can to make a triathlon out of it.”
Bousman said the Monterey County Parks Department is working on getting a practice swim course set for participants to start practicing in early February.