The Ironman 70.3 Series has been expanding at a rapid pace lately and you had to wonder if the expansion balloon would spring a leak anytime soon. Well it has and now we have the first race casualty of the Ironman 70.3 Series and it's the Ironman 70.3 Baja triathlon race. The triathlon race which normally takes place in June in Ensenada, Mexico has been pulled from the 2008 race schedule. The triathlon served as one of qualifying events for the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 race in Clearwater, FL.
Coverage of this year's race was sparse to say the least, it took a while to find out that Chris McCormack and Linsey Corbin had won the race in Baja on the Pro side. After reading some blog and forum posts you can possibly see why. According to the web posts it seems that this year's race was plagued with some major issues; the bike course being short possibly only 52 to 55 miles long instead of the true race distance of 56 miles and a poorly marked run course that caused people to not complete the full run distance.
According to one of the posts it seems that the issues on the run course caused the race organizers to actually throw out the run results entirely and award the 70.3 World Championship slots based solely on the time after the athletes swim and bike splits. It's not clear if the Pro's encountered the same run issues or not. In this week's race cancellation announcement, the World Triathlon Corporation announced that the cancellation was a result of venue challenges and an inability to secure the necessary event permits. We can see what they mean by venue challenges.
Based on the choice of words in the announcement “Baja, Mexico will not play host to an Ironman 70.3 event in 2008” it’s not clear if the race will be back in 2009 or not.
On a positive note, they now have some extra qualifying slots for the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 race to distribute to the newly added races in the Ironman 70.3 Series.