Very good topic!
Here's my take....in '01 and '02 (I could be off a year), Ironman came to Northern Utah, which I was a part of bringing it here with Graham Fraiser and Ted Kennedy (previous owners of Ironman). Unfortunately, the time of year and weather didn't cooperate both years, so they pulled the plug on their 5 year contract.
Then fast-forward to '09, and they introduce IMSG. Many Utahn's were extremely excited it came back. And yes, it sold out the first year! BUT, Ironman didn't think about a few factors. First, since IM depends on at least half of the participants be locals, it's too hard to train for an early season race in Northern Utah....it snows until May/June sometimes. Second, when I first pre-rode/ran the course, I thought, oh no, this will scare away a lot of potential athletes down the road. Sure,some of us like the challenge, but a lot of "newbie" Ironman athletes want to start with a more forgiving course.
So, the swim is still butt-cold, and the bike course is one of the toughest in North America, and if they need to change the run course to "save" the venue, I am all for it. I would hate to see IMSG "retire" after its 5-year contract. It did not sell out last year, and will most likely not sell out this year. Look at Ironman AZ....it's run course is 3 boring loops through city streets, but it sell out in one hour. I'd like to see IMSG sell out again as it is the only way to ensure its survival.
Charles- Old news here.
This has been hashed out countless times online, and your emails to IMSG wont change anything...The course was changed due to construction and not the reason you speculated above.
To save on time and typing, go to Slowtwitch.com and search "Ironman St. George Run Course" The entire thread is not only entertaining, but should have some answers for you there.
Sorry I don't have a link. Slowtwitch always has broken links to threads...
There is a huge number of "one and done" athletes out there who want an "easy" IM. That is why Florida and AZ sell out quickly each year. I don't think you'll get the numbers to sell out in StG in the near future but for true IMers they will always go to StG for the challenge.
Thanks for your report--a few questions:
1) Are there parts that have a soft surface on the side of the road? How long? Or is it all asphalt? Concrete?
2) Is the road noticeably slanted in areas? (for drainage)
3) Did you notice street lights? Wouldn't that be nice.
4) How did you practice-in the road?? Was there much traffic or is there some kind of trail, bike path, sidewalk?
5) Shade? Just on the first part?
I think the course sounds great and I am bringing my family. They could actually see me more than 1-2 times in 5 hours.
Thank you sooo much for your report!!!! I was just looking at dates in March to get over there and now I'm even more anxious!!!