Changes are being made to the IRONMAN triathlon due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew. (Source: IRONMAN)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
Athletes from all over the country are in Wilmington for this weekend's Ironman Beach to Battleship Triathlon. Many found out Tuesday that the race course was shortened, and the bike course would be 50 miles instead of the usual 112.
Ironman North Carolina made the announcement on Facebook, citing flood damage to the course and a shortage of emergency services personnel. Competitors said they were disappointed to hear the news.
"The attitude that Ironman is taking is just sort of disrespectful to the athletes that put in so much time and effort into training and preparing for a race like this," said Jack Hiniker, an athlete racing this weekend.
He said he's been reaching out to organizers since Hurricane Matthew, and the decision could have been made sooner.
"They had said that the course was going to go on as scheduled last week, meanwhile it seems 62 miles of the course happened to be underwater," Hiniker said.
Others said they understand the decision. Nicolette Bastien is a first-time triathlete, and even though she's let down, she knows it could be worse.
"If my biggest problem is that I can't do the race I wanted, overall I'm doing all right," she said.
Some athletes said they would have preferred the race was canceled so they could get their money back. We have yet to hear back from race officials regarding the matter.