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Spirit of Racine Triathlon

Contestants prepare their equipment before the start of the annual Spirit of Racine Triathlon, July 19, 2009. The Real Racine Triathlon that had been planned has been called off because of insufficient registration.

RACINE — Due to insufficient race registrations, the county’s tourism bureau announced Wednesday the cancellation of the Real Racine International Triathlon. The event was scheduled for July 15.

“Racine’s beautiful lakefront has hosted at least one triathlon annually since 2004, and Racine became synonymous with a sold-out, quality, multisport event in a beautiful location,” Real Racine said in a release.

“Unfortunately, despite an aggressive marketing campaign to potential participants in the Chicago and southern Wisconsin markets, the number of people registering fell short of expectations, so the decision was made by both parties to cancel the event.” The other party is HFP Racing, the race promoter.

This is the second blow to local triathletes. Last September, organizers of the Ironman 70.3 Racine Triathlon announced that the event would not be returning to Racine this year. The event, which brought people to Racine from around the world, had included a 1.2-mile swim along North Beach, a 56-mile bicycle race and a 13.1-mile run.

For two straight years, the swimming portion was canceled due to weather, and triathletes cited poor road conditions in the bicycle race as a concern. Another factor was the recent addition of a 70.3 Triathlon in Madison, which took a toll on race participation.

Following the announcement that the Ironman was not coming back to Racine, Real Racine worked with HFP Racing to coordinate another event. The Ohio company is familiar with Racine, as it ran the Spirit of Racine Triathlon that took place prior to the Ironman.

In the past, Racine triathlons have brought 1,500 to 1,900 athletes as well as 4,000 to 5,000 spectators. The tourism bureau was planning for approximately 1,500 participants this year.

During the discussions about the race, the tourism bureau talked about the possibility of having the swimming portion at Quarry Lake Park in Mount Pleasant, but ultimately decided on Lake Michigan because of construction concerns around Quarry Lake.

The Real Racine Triathlon wasn’t meant to replace the Ironman, but to keep triathletes coming back to the community.

HFP Racing, which was coordinating the event, has been in contact with all registrants and is refunding their race fees. The tourism bureau has contacted all local groups involved in the race and informed them of the decision, the release stated.

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