The 16:45 change actually is nothing more than a stupid solution to a non-existent problem which has beome rather typical of WTC under its current management.
But since you asked here you ho:
They've over stayed their welcome by many years. They take resources from our community and expect to be thanked.
They get special priveleges in conducting their for profit business on our state owned pier and state owned ocean. Guess what? That's not allowed! No other organization charging any fee for any reason whatsoever is allowed to use our pier or state beach access to the ocean unless they're boating related businesses with a permit. That includes all the tri camps, all the swim clinics, local triathlon clubs, and other for profit but smaller races -- all of them. Only WTC Gets away with this. It's been enforced against everyone except WTC. Enforce it against them as well. Or ate they just special and entitled like their athletes of late?
They seriously restrict travel over a large swath of our island on race day. In some places for well over 24 hours.
Their customers have become increasingly rude to locals over the last 5 years in particular.. They run red lights on their bycycles, they don't bother to stop at stop signs, they do more than encroach on the traffic lanes -- they flat out ride in large groups well inside traffic lanes. Somebody is s going to get killed and my sympathy is almost certainly going to be with the hapless driver.
And it's not just bikers. Every year I see numerous instances of runners stopping traffic during rush hour so they don't have to stop and wait for the walk sign during their runs. It's beyond ignorance, it intentional. Never ever see that outside of this time of the year.
WTC pays lip service to the safety issues. And it gets worse every year.
And then there's the travesty of how locals can't even race in the only long course triathlon here without going into the lottery. Big Island residents used to at least be able to compete for our slots. That was taken away as well. Now we get to put our names in a hat instead.
And every year the locals have to put up with way too many of the 1800+ athletes telling us how we ought to do things in Hawaii. And almost none of them have the slightest respect for the host culture.
Then there's the way you could say WTC treated a nice little 70.3 race out here by not just eliminating any pro purse for a June race but eliminating all 70.3 Championship points for the pros.
WTC behaves as if this is their company town. It's not, it's ours. The people that live here own it. I used to say that the town was split in 3s regarding this race. 1/3 wanted it in town, 1/3 wanted it to leave and 1/3 doesn't care. Only that last third hasn't changed. I know few people, including triathletes, who want it to stay now. Most now would send Itonman packing given the chance.
That's the short list.
To the special privileges beef. I suspect the special privileges that WTC gets has much more to do with the economic benefit of the race to the town and state than it does to any sort of bowing down to WTC. None of the other organizations (tri-clubs, swim clinics, not for profits, etc) likely bring much financial benefit to the community and as such are not given special dispensation. It would be nice if the state owned pier would increase access to the other, smaller, organizations because it is the right thing to do, not decrease access for WTC.
Restrict travel on the island. Can't argue there. every place that holds a major marathon, triathlon, bike race, etc has to do the same to its citizenry. It is up to the citizens (and their leaders) to decide whether the benefit of the event outweighs the negative for the community.
Rude customers. I won't argue this. I would implore triathletes to respect the island, its residents and its culture. If we want the island to continue to be our host, we need to be good guests. I will say that in my one trip to Kona (2011) I was so happy to be there that I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I attempted to be happy, gracious and polite to everyone and believe that I achieved my goal. During my ten days in Kona I had two interactions with locals who spontaneously, unprovoked, (at least by me-I hope) told me that I, and all of the other triathletes, were not welcome there. It was shocking and certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. Kona is the one race that I have travelled to that I really felt unwelcomed by the locals. Contrast that with Mont Tremblant, where nearly everyone is enthusiastically embracing the triathlon in their community. Perhaps they are too early in the WTC cycle to have tired of the race, or perhaps they just recognize what an economic boon the race is to the area.
I am sorry if we don't respect the host culture. This is an individual and corporate issue. I am constantly amazed at how badly many people treat others so I am not surprised that there is a problem with courtesy. Maybe WTC needs make this a focus and spend a significant amount of time in prerace emails and communications to educate the athletes about respecting the culture. It is unfortunate that grown people need to be told how to behave respectfully and appropriately.
As far as Kona goes, as a stand alone destination, it really isn't that great of a place to visit. Without the IM there, I would never go there to visit (please don't get all upset, people don't come to visit my hometown either). Maybe the people of Kona and the surrounding area would be fine with that but without the race in October I suspect the community would lose a significant source of its annual revenue. Again, maybe the people would rather have it that way. There are other towns on the island that are existing OK with out a major race. Perhaps Kona would prefer that but be careful what you wish for.
None of the secrets of success will work unless you do.