IT didn't take long for Ironman Australia regional director Chris Jervis to realise this year's May 2 event wasn't going to proceed.
On the surface, Port Macquarie looked as though it had climbed off the canvas following last month's devastating flood crisis.
Beaches were reopened, the water in the Hastings River had rediscovered its bluish tinge and the region was set to welcome thousands of people from around the country for Ironman Australia.
But no sooner had Mr Jervis and a number of his support crew stepped foot on the tarmac, the decision to postpone the event was the only option.
A brief visit to several of the flooded areas around town then sealed the event's fate on May 2.
"The tipping point was what was in the best interest of the community," Mr Jervis said.
"We did our own observations and what we could see is that a lot of things are about timing and now is not the right time for us to hold a race here.
"We drove the entire course and looked at spaces we would use on race day, but most importantly we spoke with the community.
"It soon became evident and clear we needed to support the community by letting them focus on where they are and where they need to be."
The rescheduled race will now take place on September 5.
"Multiple calendars were considered and we worked with council, Destinations NSW and the Local Organising Committee," Mr Jervis said.
"We also have history with holding the 70.3 in September previously; it's a traditional race period for triathletes."Ironman Australia regional director Chris Jervis
"We also have history with holding the 70.3 in September previously; it's a traditional race period for triathletes."
Ironman Oceania managing director Dave Beeche said it was a tough decision to make, but one that was done in the best interests of the community.
"While on the surface the region has made great progress to get back on its feet quickly, the reality is that hundreds of homes, businesses, infrastructure, water quality and lives have been severely impacted," he said.
"On top of that there is also a huge demand on the local workforce, following what has already been an incredibly difficult 18 months with bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions.
"Our thoughts continue to go out to all of those affected and we are looking into ways that the Ironman community can help support those most in need."
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson admitted she is disappointed Ironman's long-awaited return to Port Macquarie has been postponed.
"Anyone who has experienced Ironman here in Port Macquarie knows how much we love and embrace the event each year," she said.
"Unfortunately with many businesses, homes, roads and waterways impacted by the recent devastating floods, it's with a heavy heart we say that May is too soon.
"While we look to rebuild and recover from the floods, we greatly appreciate Ironman's continued support and look forward to seeing your return to Port Macquarie soon."
LOC spokesperson Danny Suitor supported the tough decision.
"The impact and devastation of these floods is still very much in the minds of our community and many residents and volunteers are still working tirelessly on the clean-up," he said.
"We feel for the Ironman athletes given previous cancellations, but the welfare of our local community must take precedence in this situation."
"We feel for the Ironman athletes given previous cancellations, but the welfare of our local community must take precedence in this situation."LOC spokesperson Danny Suitor
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