While vaccination rates have been soaring and Ontario moves to Level 2 of its four-stage opening plan, things still aren’t running full-steam ahead when it comes to triathlon events. Today the organizers of the Barrelman Triathlon were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel this year’s race.
“While the situation for the general population is improving, it is now clear that they will certainly not improve to the point where we will be able to obtain the necessary permits, arrange for emergency services to be on site (an absolute must) or secure the paid duty Police who marshal our complex course so well,” organizers John Salt, Jason Vurma and Joseph Park wrote in an email to participants today. “This is heartbreaking news for us all. We would love nothing more than to see you all racing, but without these three critical components, the race simply can’t happen. On a more personal note, I will also not jeopardize the health of any individual, whether athlete, volunteer or crew member in the pursuit of a single race. We will be back in 2022!”
With an expected 1,200 athletes racing, the Barrelman organizers expected to see almost 3,000 people at the race site, which made getting permits for the event a challenge. Organizers were also told they couldn’t start the negotiations with key players including the Niagara Parks Commission, police, EMS until July 31, leaving them just six weeks to finalize details that normally take a minimum of four to five months.
“The biggest factor in obtaining permits is the potential number of people gathering at Barrelman, in both Welland and Niagara Falls,” the email continued. “With over 1,200 people racing we know the total number of people gathering would be in excess of 3,000. That number is comprised of approximately 1,200+ athletes, 1,500-1,800 spectators, almost 200 volunteers, 40 race crew, almost 50 Police and EMS staff. Lastly, there is also currently no clear indication of when the border will be open, meaning some 30% of our athletes would not be able to join us at Barrelman.”
“This was an extremely difficult decision however, we could not have our athletes waiting any longer to hear from us,” the organizers conclude. “I hope you understand the rationale behind our decision and trust you know we are doing the best we can to accommodate and take care of all our athlete/customers. In the coming weeks we hope the COVID situation has more clarity and we will be able to open registration for Barrelman 2022 in late summer/early fall.”
Athletes who had deferred entries from 2020 and those who had pre-registered in 2021 will receive separate emails today.