Hey Bob, glad to hear you are excited and thank you for the kind words about our races!
The honest answer is that we had given some consideration to an Iron Distance for the reason you mention, but there are several factors in the decision to launch as a Half Iron, not the least of are the following.
We know this course well, as it is part of our Welland Half Iron in June. The bike course for the Niagara race is a nice course with the first loop being 65k to the south and southwest of Welland, parts of which are along Lake Erie, with the final 25k splitting off to go to Niagara Falls. In order to increase the distance to 165k we would need to extend the bike course in a more northerly direction and then bring it back to the split where you go to the Falls. In order to do that we must cross commercial railway lines. The issue with commercial railway lines is there is no schedule. Train time is anytime. Given that alone we have decided to go with what we know and start out as a Half Iron. That does not preclude the possibility of exploring other options for extending the bike to the east and south closer to Niagara Falls. If we could find 180k that way, it could work. There are certainly a lot of athletes in Ontario who would like to see a full Iron Distance. Having said that, we would have another issue to address, the run course and use of the Parkway in Niagara Falls.
What will make this such a special race is the two times you get to run past the American and Canadian Falls. I personally worked for three years on getting the approval to run twice PAST the Falls (no one has been that lucky before). We have a completely closed lane for the run on the Niagara Parkway and the Niagara Parks Commission has been great to work with. The City of Niagara Falls has been very helpful for the city section of the run. The issue with a full Iron would be the length of time we would need the lane on the Niagara Parkway and the roads in the city, especially the section on Murray Hill as you go past the Niagara Casino, heading to the Parkway and the Falls section. With a Half Iron we know that 2/3 of athletes will be clear of Murray Hill on the second loop by 3:15. With a full Iron it would be a lot later. Once we see the impact the race will have as a Half we could see if there was an appetite on the part of the city and Niagara Parks Commission to allow extended use of the roads. After all we are visiting their home and it is very important we keep the communities happy.
I know that is a long answer to a short question but I want you to know we are looking at everything to make this a special race.
John Salt, MultiSport Canada Triathlon
Canada's Largest Triathlon Series http://www.multisportcanada.com
"Discipline Is What You Do When No One Is Watching You"