This is Update #1 to the recent piece, “2017 Newport Beach Triathlon – Oct 1, 2017 – Buyer Beware”. There were an inordinate number of comments, follow-on questions and requests for additional insight. A good place to start is a response from Pacific Sports to Eric Nolfo’s question following our original article. Eric is a California Triathlon member and has friends currently registered for the 2017 Newport Beach Triathlon.
Eric, you should question the source of your information. We apply for permits, as we have for 39 years, and they are approved in typically around 10 days prior to the event. This is entirely typical. We have sanctioned the event as long as there has been the existence of USA Triathlon. ~ Pacific Sports
We wondered if this business practice was “typical” for other race directors in California?  Is it typical for race directors to gain permit approval 10 days prior to the event?  If not, how far in advance do race directors typically get permit approval?  Is it typical for race directors to cancel a race?  How many races have these companies held over what time period?  How many races have been cancelled last minute?  Four California based race directors with over 600 races under their belts were kind enough to answer these questions related to permit approval and event cancellation.  Here are their responses:

  • TriEvents - Carolyn Wolk, Owner & Race Director.  TriEvents is the longest running triathlon series in the world who has produced 137 races at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California.  Per Carolyn Wolk, “We have never cancelled a race due to municipal permitting or relationship issues   In the 36 year history of TriEvents there has only been 1 cancellation and that was due to fire.”  TriEvents requires many permits including Bonelli Park in San Dimas, Bonelli Park RV Park, CIty of San Dimas, LA County, CIty of LaVerne, City of Pomona & Cal Trans.  Carolyn indicated she gets her permits many months in advance.
  • USAP Events - Ryan Coelho, Owner & Race Director.  Ryan has produced 128 races over 10 years in Northern California.  There has only been 1 race cancelled and that was due to lightning.  USAP applies for permits almost immediately after the prior year is complete with an average approval typically 60 days from race date.  Per Ryan, USAP has never had a race cancelled due to permits or municipality disputes.
  • Pelican Coast Events.  Kari Davis, Pelican Coast Events.  The OC Tri Series includes the Pacific Coast & Orange County triathlons which have combined for 30 races over a 20 year period.  These races are in Orange County just like the Newport Beach Triathlon.  Kari shared that they apply for permitting almost a full year in advance and have all their ducks in a row relative to permitting an average of 6 months before the event.  Pelican Coast Events has never had a race cancelled due to permits or municipality disputes.
  • Renegade Racing - Jonathan Pauley, Managing Partner & Race Director.  Renegade Racing has produced somewhere between 300 and 350 races.  Per Jonathan Pauley, “Renegade Racing applies for permit for a repeat event about 90-120 days in advance.  Depending on the municipality we might even do it prior to 120 days.  If it is a new race we start talking to the permitting agencies as much as 10-12 months in advance.  Either way we talk to the permit agencies and have a reasonable expectation as long as we meet the permitting requirements that we will be issued a permit.  Renegade Racing has never cancelled a race.  I think it is not typical for race management companies to cancel races at the last minute. Professional race management companies know well in advance what obstacles are in the permit process and about what it will cost to meet the requirements of each permitting agency.”
Based on the responses from these companies it is not typical to apply or try to obtain permits so close to the event date nor is it typical to have race cancellations due to permitting issues.  These 4 companies have had over 600 races produced without having a race cancelled due to lack of municipal permitting or relationships.  This brings up another important point.  When the event is abruptly cancelled what is the impact to the registrants, vendors & the sport in general.  We will dive into that on Update #2 on Sunday.