Thursday, June 30, 2011

The uselessness of names

Once upon a time in triathlon world, there were 4 major distances in racing:
Ultra /Ironman  - 2.4m swim / 112m bike / 26.2m run
Long / Half-Ironman or "Half" - 1.2m swim / 56m bike / 13.1m run
International / Olympic - 1.5k / 40k / 10k
Sprint - Meant to be 750m / 20k / 5k but a lot of 400meter-10m-3m in Florida racing

These days there are races all along this spectrum as well as above and below.  I am happy about all that as it provides variety, and if you want to stick with 250 yard pool swim - 8mile bike - 2 mile run you can find a few. 

What I am tired of is seeing races use the terms above for races that don't stick to the distance.  The worst are International and Olympic names on races.  If you have a 1 mile swim - 30 mile bike - 5 mile run, it is not an International triathlon, at all, in any way shape or form.  It is just a mid-distance triathlon.  There is no real one "International" distance - all distances are International since any nation can hold any distance.  Duhhhh-huhh?    It is Olympic distance or it is whatever you want distance if it is not Olympic distance.  If you do a 1k swim - 17 mile bike - 3 mile run, it is not an International Sprint Distance triathlon, it is just a shorter-than-Olympic-distance -distance in your backyard triathlon.  

All standardization has gone out the window.  The technical guy in me demands some standards or it is chaos, man, total chaos. Give up the "International," "Olympic" and "Sprint" monikers on distances you know aren't codified in some fashion.  Just give your race a name like the Tomato Man Triathlon or the Big Banana Triathlon and let people R-E-A-D the distances. 

(Btw, there is a Tomato Man Triathlon that can call its distance a Sprint because it adheres to the more or less standard 750m swim - 20k bike - 5k run.  I just looked that up.)

1 comment:

Angela said...

The OCD in me agrees with you 100%!