Triathlon in Montreal set to run in September with 2,500 participants and not much else

It’s been five months since the last mass start event took place in Canada, but that is starting to change. In Quebec, the Montreal Espirit Triathlon has the OK to run on Sept. 12-13 with COVID-19 protocols and is expecting to draw 2,500 participants. 

“The original notice from the Government of Quebec was to cancel all events until Aug. 31, and this gave us hope that we would have a race,” says organizer Danny McCann. “We worked like we were having a race but could not step up with major costs should the race be cancelled or we simply do not receive the number of participants as in the past.  Right now we are in full event mode. I normally spend a leisurely summer doing the many tasks that I have been doing for the past 35 years. Now I need to complete all these tasks in about six weeks.”

The event is one of the largest triathlons in Canada and usually draws 3,500 participants. So far, the reaction from participants to the news has been mixed, says McCann.

“Yes, we have received  great support from many of our athletes and our registration is closing in on 1500 right now,” he says. “Others, naturally, are nervous about racing during these trying times. Some registered athletes have asked to move their registration to 2021.”

When organizers announced the race would be held, they also said that should the race be cancelled participants will receive a 100 per cent refund or can move the registration to 2021.  

“Our expectation is to have an event with about 2500 participants,” McCann says. “Acceptable considering what the world is going through.”

According to McCann, there are many pandemic protocols in place, the biggest of which being the elimination of spectators, the EXPO, food court, food tent and awards ceremony. 

“All of that will not happen in 2020,” he explains. “Athletes will race, know their time and go home. This will be a race where you will simply do the “course” as a personal challenge without the major camaraderie of socializing with your fellow triathletes. The social aspect will be in distancing.”

Although events are different, it seems there will now be more opportunities for athletes to challenge themselves in a top competitive environment. And maybe that’s enough for now. 


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