Race Review (Sorta...) - Nation's Escape Triathlon

September 11th, 2018

by Michael Ryan


The Nation's Escape Triathlon in Washington D.C. was scheduled for September 9, 2018 in West Potomac Park, but was cancelled in the afternoon due to poor weather conditions and flooding in the metro D.C area. 

Needless to say, many athletes thought the decision was made prematurely. At first, just the swim portion was canceled due to sewerage overflow into the Potomac River. This essentially shortened and changed the race to a duathlon with a run - bike - run option for both the Sprint and Olympic distances, including relay participants. See reviews from past years >



Most athletes seemed to be ok with this option: a short run before the bike and not risking illness from swimming in the Potomac. For most who have ever competed in a triathlon, you likely have encountered a race where the swim has been canceled due to high bacteria levels. Either way, the Department of Energy and Environment was ultimately in charge and pulled the swim permit leaving the race organizers no choice but to completely cancel the swim leg.

Walking around transition picking up race packets, race bags, numbers and other schwag was very quick, efficient, and organized.  Every area was marked very well leading athletes from one section to another.

Here was the step one station:



The step 4 station featured a build your own race bag option.



The body marking station had plenty of volunteers available for applying the premade numbers on each athlete's arms.  This was a nice plus - for other races it can get frustrating when you have your race number written in size 10 font on your arm.  



The transition area was well marked.  Both T1 and T2 were large and impossible to miss.  The cones and crowd barriers guided athletes easily around transition and in/out the appropriate areas.



The athlete briefing was short and sweet: 22 minutes to be exact.  I attended the 12 p.m. briefing which discussed the swim cancellation, areas of certain parts of the course to be aware of from the previous day's heavy rains, and general course rules and procedures to follow.

Bike drop-off on Saturday, the day prior to the race, was mandatory. Packet pickup was mandatory on Saturday as well - there was NO same day packet pickup. So off I went to the transition area, to rack my bike, and hope the nighttime security staff would guard all 2000+ bikes.  



I went after that to grab a beer (I know - it should have been water only) with a friend to relax awhile before the race. Just a short time later around 3:30, I received an email stating the ENTIRE race was canceled. The reason: Current weather conditions and anticipated storm activity. 

The radar was actively displaying huge areas of rain and thunderstorms moving to the area. Knowing many athletes had flown or traveled long distances, spent a lot of money on hotels, and committed the entire weekend to this race, must have made the decision to cancel very difficult for the race director and organizers.








I know they made the right decision.  I awoke this morning to driving rain and wind. Just driving to pick up my bike I encountered many areas of standing water on major roads. The rain was coming down in buckets when I got to transition area to retrieve my bike.  The fields were soaked, the Potomac was overflowing its banks, and there was some nasty wind.  There was no way the race could have taken place, and my hat's off to the race organizers making the tough decision the day before the race to pre-emptively cancel the race.

As far as refunds and credits go, that will be up to the race organizers.  It states in the terms and conditions that no refunds will be given due to weather conditions, but you never know what will happen after things settle down.  Hopefully next year the weather holds out and I can experience what the Nation's Escape Triathlon has to offer.

With the Nation's Escape being out of the picture this year, don't miss the chance to partake in another triathalon. Find your next triathlon using RaceThread. Start your search today >

The Nation's Escape Triathlon is one of six races in the Escape Triathlon series culminating in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, California.



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