The results of a recent Ironman Lake Placid poll show that the community is almost equally divided over their support for the triathlon, but the majority of poll participants are in favor of continuing the race here.
The Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism will organize a virtual community call to present the survey results next week. The results were explained to members of the Ironman task force at two meetings last week.
Of 1,441 respondents, 49% said they supported the race and 41% opposed it. The remaining 10% claimed a neutral position on the race. Thirty-one percent of respondents voted to cancel the race, the first response from participants when asked what changes should be made to the race.
Survey results show that nearly 1,180 people who took part in the survey live in racing towns – Lake Placid, Keene, Jay, Upper Jay and Wilmington – while about 260 live in outlying regional municipalities. like Saranac Lake, AuSable Forks and other Adirondack zip codes. Participants with postal codes outside of the region were not included in the results, and responses were grouped by IP address to eliminate duplicate submissions.
Participants answered questions about their overall level of support for Ironman – whether or not they are in favor of the race – as well as details about where they live, whether or not they live on the course and whether they are in favor of the race or not. a local business owner. People were also given the opportunity to provide short answers on what they consider to be disadvantages or advantages of running, their experiences with pre-race training, and instances where athletes or spectators have missed out. respect to their personal property.
In July, officials from the City of North Elba, the Village of Lake Placid and ROOST signed a one-year contract extension with Ironman to allow triathlon to return in 2022. The contract will be renewed next year. Officials formed the Ironman Task Force after hearing the pros and cons of extending the contract in a virtual public meeting with ROOST. When the contract extension was announced two days before this year’s race, ROOST wrote in a press release that the task force “Resolve issues related to the event while looking for ways to improve community benefits. “
The investigation was launched on October 20 and closed on November 1. ROOST data analyst Jay Bennett compiled the survey with ROOST Chief Digital Officer Jasen Lawrence, with input from task force members. Bennett analyzed the data and created a slideshow with the survey results and presented it to members of the Ironman Task Force, who discussed the survey results in virtual meetings on November 17-18.
When asked what was the main drawback of the breed, almost 50% of those surveyed replied that “The athletes who come to train here do not respect the rules of the road and have an impact on my travels. Two other main complaints were related to race day traffic and overcrowding “in and around the city.”
Other survey results show that the main complaint from survey participants concerned the training of athletes before race day. Some members of the task force and ROOST noted that it is difficult to determine which riders train for Ironman and who cycle the course throughout the season for recreational purposes.
The race is “Positive impact for the region” ranked as the best profit of the race, collecting 38% of the votes of the participants. Other prominent advantages were that the race exposed the region as a “International sports destination” and introduced new people to the area.
The survey also showed that people who watched, volunteered or participated in the Ironman race were five times more likely to support the race than people who did not interact with the event.
ROOST will be holding a community call for more feedback on the survey results and the Ironman race at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30. People can access the meeting through Zoom with the meeting ID 842-0713-0698. People can also call the meeting with their phones by dialing 929-205-6099.
Bennett said Lawrence will present the survey results during the community call. Although the meeting is scheduled to last an hour, Bennett said the deadline could be “Difficult to stick to”. He said as long as people ask questions on the call, ROOST employees plan to provide answers.
In October, the task force planned to use the data from the investigation to better inform its recommendations to officials as to whether Ironman should continue to be held in Lake Placid and, if that continues, what changes, if any, should be made to the event. ROOST COO Mary Jane Lawrence said ROOST wanted to organize the community appeal to give more people the chance to see the survey results and ask questions in real time. She said the community’s response to the call could help guide the final race task force recommendations, which are expected to surface by the end of this year.
Reflections from the working group’s investigation
Task Force member Ann Stillman O’Leary, whose home and office are both on the course, said “More information must be discovered” on the economic impact of the event before interpreting the results of the survey. She believes people would have responded to the survey differently if they knew more about Ironman’s economic impact on Lake Placid and neighboring towns affected by the race, she said. The working group is expected to discuss Ironman’s budget at its next meeting.
Bryan Magnus, a task force member and resident of Lake Placid who previously competed in the Ironman Lake Placid race, said he was impressed with the level of participation in the survey.
“For me, this really validates the fact that the local community cares a lot about the future of the event and if we’re going to renew the contract with Ironman for the longer term, we need to get it right and make sure that the concerns communities are correctly taken into account. addressed ”, Magnus said.
Task Force member Julie Woody, a Keene resident on the course who is also an Ironman Lake Placid veteran, said the survey shows people generally prefer running and its economic impacts, and she believes that the investigation sheds light on an issue that extends beyond Ironman – the increase in cycling in the area.
“For me, this illustrates a clear push to make cycling and the shared use of our roads safer for cars and cyclists. she wrote in an email Friday.
The Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon has been held every summer since 1999, except in 2020 when it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It offers a 2.4 mile swim on Mirror Lake; 112 mile bike ride through the village of Lake Placid and the towns of North Elba, Keene, Jay and Wilmington; and a 26.2 mile run in and around the village. The finish line was traditionally on the Olympic speed skating oval; in 2021, the finish line was on Main Street in front of the oval due to construction work expected to be completed this winter.