Huntsville mayor Scott Aitchison announced this morning that the 2016 Ironman Muskoka has been cancelled, with less than eight months until August 30th, its scheduled race day. Ironman Muskoka hosted its inaugural race last year. Expenses to put on the race proved to be too much for the town of Huntsville and the race didn’t end up being as profitable as expected for Ironman Canada.
Huntsville had signed a three-year deal with Ironman, but lost $100,000 after the 2015 race. They feared losing more if they kept the event going.
“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,” said Aitchison.
The main reason for the race not doing well is likely its incredibly challenging course. “They thought 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,” he explained.
Despite this cancellation, organizers don’t see it as a total failure. Both Ironman Muskoka and the more popular Ironman 70.3 Muskoka helped solidify Huntsville as a top triathlon destination in Ontario. As part of the cancellation agreement, Hunstville has taken over Ironman 70.3 Muskoka for one year. The race is still set to take place on July 10th, 2016.
The contract was cancelled with no penalties to the town. Deerhurst, a popular race weekend resort, has committed to full refunds for those who made reservations for the event.