"running" = "triathlon"
"Ironman" = "Marathon"
Imagine one company or small group of companies holding the rights to "Marathon". A competing company comes up with "Runathon", 18.63 miles or whatever. Good luck.
One reason all those great shorter races are successful (aside from the fact that many got to call themselves "half Ironmans" for a long time and some now Ironman 70.3) is that they are generally on outstanding or at least good race courses, as well as being well run. 6 loop bike course? As Gob says, "Come on!!!". 101 can't compete on the cachet of a name, that battle is lost, or the distances...specific distances don't matter. They have to compete on the quality of the event, a huge part of which is the course. Let me swim, bike and run somewhere that I normally could not, with some combination of beauty, challenge/epicness (ie not loops). Doesn't have to be unique in the world, but unique or memorable to me. They got one thing right, which is that they can't compete directly at "Iron distance" no matter how great the course, that's been and is still being tried but with limited success (GF, Vineman, Silverman). Maybe the California race course is good enough, in which case just pitch it as an awesome triathlon on a great course...nobody cares about being a 101man, but a great race run by the brand 101 or whatever you might call it, that people will do, and from there you can develop brand loyalty.