THREE key ingredients combined to put an end to Port Macquarie celebrating the 35th time the Ironman Australia event would have been held.
A global pandemic resulted in significant health regulations being put in place and ultimately time ran out as Ironman organisers tried in vain to get the 2020 event off the ground.
Ironman Oceania managing director David Beeche said they had set themselves an internal guideline of making a decision 12 weeks out from the event.
With the postponed date of September 13 now only 10 weeks away, they were left with little choice but to cancel the event on July 5.
"With NSW Health regulations limiting mass gatherings to 500 people, we clearly can't deliver an event within that limit," Mr Beeche said.
With NSW Health regulations limiting mass gatherings to 500 people, clearly we can't deliver an event within that limit.Ironman Oceania managing director David Beeche
"And while there is an exception's process, that takes time and there's no guarantee any exceptions to that limit would be granted."
With the NSW-Victoria border closed earlier in the week for an unknown period of time and Melbourne in lockdown for the next six weeks, their hand was forced.
"There would be a huge risk around Victorians being able to travel to the event within the timeframe we've got," Mr Beeche said.
"(Victoria's COVID-19 spike in cases) was one of many factors, but it was not the decisive factor; you've got to weigh all the factors up.
"The bottom line is under current health regulations we're limited to 500 people at an event and there is no certainty around when that's going to change; that's the environment we're working in."
The 2021 calendar is still a day-to-day prospect, but Mr Beeche was confident most events would be able to take place in 12 months' time.
Ironman Australia Port Macquarie is one such event he feels is under no threat.
We expect our events are going to bounce back strongly next year and hopefully at least free travel interstate should be back up and running.David Beeche
"We expect our events are going to bounce back strongly next year and hopefully at least free travel interstate should be back up and running," he said.
"We should hopefully be in an environment then where there are no restrictions on mass gatherings like there is now."
Bushfires and wet weather have previously combined to cause headaches for organisers on race day, but events still went ahead.
Cancelling the well-known event due to a global pandemic is unchartered territory and the health of the community and athletes must come first.
"As everyone knows, you live day to day in this environment," Mr Beeche said.
"The health and safety of communities and Australia in general is paramount and no one is going to go against the health regulations or push them faster than they should be.
"You're always hoping things are going to improve and restrictions are going to ease, but when they don't, you fast come to the end of the runway.
"You have to make the hard calls and we are hoping the event comes back bigger and stronger in May next year."
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