I live in New Paltz, NY, Home of the SOS Triathlon and the AmZof Duathlon. With the explosion of partially (fondues, gravel enduros, Enduro World Series MTB events) and non-competitive (gravel rides you have to pay for, supported century rides, and the like) that seem to proliferate cycling, I wonder if there is a market for an event like this.
There is and there is not.
Bare with me for a minute.
Triathlon headed down a road, from the get go where few if any swim/bike/run for the heck of it. Triathletes ONLY option for some kind of an event to go to has been a RACE - where times are taken, results calculated, and awards handed out. Thus a triathlon can't be anything else.
Cycling by contrast has always had a large group of people who ride, but never actually pin on a bib number and really RACE. For them, century rides, sportifs, charity rides and even gran fondos* have been something that they have been happy to sign up for and come out and participate in. Triathlon to day really has not had the equivalent of this. The closest you get is some very informal organized training days, that I know some coaches put on, that has a day of swimming/cycling/running all organized and laid out.
Now I'm bound to rankle a few people here with what I'm about to say next, so I apologize ahead of time. When you look at the race field for a large 1/2 IM or full IM race, it's clear that somewhere in the race field (note I'm calling it a "race"), you can draw a line and, really people are not racing so much, they are going to finish and complete the distance. They have more in common with the sportif or century ride, rider than someone who ie really and truly racing that distance of triathlon. But if you called it the, say the Whistler Triathlon Sportif, and not IRONMAN Canada, you might have 20 people sign up!
*Gran Fondos fall into a bit of a grey area. Some are like a race, and some are completely non-competitive. Orginally, they were meant to be competitive and some still believe strongly that this is the case. - with times, places and awards, but the line has been blurred.
Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog