It’s going to be difficult to know how many people are running and riding on local streets next August in the second Penticton Challenge triathlon.
That’s because the Penticton Triathlon Race Society and the city, which owns the Challenge race licence, decided to treat the number of participants registered as proprietary information.
We can agree with Mayor Garry Litke when he says Challenge Penticton needs to be run as a business, and as such, you don’t give competitors — in this case, the also-new Whistler Ironman — information they might use against you.
In the case of details of contracts with sponsors and similar material, that makes sense. But withholding the number of people who pre-registered for the 2014 race, that becomes a little harder to imagine how Ironman would use that against Penticton.
Challenge Roth — the main race of the Challenge family series, is in a similar competitive position with Ironman Frankfurt, but had no problem releasing their registration numbers. Then again, they sold 4,000 spots in 3.5 minutes when they opened their 2014 registration.
And in advance of the inaugural 2013 race, Challenge Penticton was happy to release pre registration numbers showing the race was drawing a solid crowd. It is doubtful there were many Pentictonites who expected the early years of Challenge Penticton to match the popularity of Ironman Canada achieved after 30 years of races.
But by holding back information about registration and about the budget shortfall incurred in the first year, the city and the Penticton Triathlon Race Society are causing people to wonder if the situation is worse than expected.
We think both groups should be more open with the residents of Penticton about how well or poorly the race did in its first year, and how operations will be stepped up to help the race grow in future years.