UK's original long distance triathlon faces the axe

The Longest Day, the UK's original long-distance triathlon, run by the Black Country Triathletes, is going through very unsettled times.

For a 12 years, this was the only long-distance race in the UK, before the advent of the official Ironman UK event in 2005. Although there are many supporters of The Longest Day, but not enough, it seems are taking part.

It's purely down to numbers, as running an event of this scale is not cheap. For those who don't know, "this scale" is 2.4 mile swim, 122 mile bike and 26 mile run.

The distance is often called Ironman distance, although you should be aware that Ironman is a trademark, and as such, can only be applied to sanctioned events, such as the competitor event in Sherbourne.

However, it's not just a case of one versus the other. The Longest Day has been making rumblings about participant numbers and the costs for a number of years. This year, however, it seems to have come to a head.

Having originally stated that the race would go ahead, at this point in time, there are still to few entrants to make it viable - more participants means a greater atmosphere, and a better day out for all. Too few participants means the course marshalls will probably out-number them.

So what can we do? The UK triathlon community is appealing for participants. At this stage, training from scratch to participate, and finish, is cutting it a bit fine - unless you are already an experienced racer and have been in training for other endurance events.

However, the relay option might hold the key - a 2.4 mile swim in less than 2 hours? That's not beyond the realms of possible. A 112 mile ride in under 8 hours? Again, this could be a goer. Throw in a marathon within the remaining 5.5 hours, and you're there.

So, get your mates round, pull in a team, and save this outstanding race. More details can be found at www.blackcountrytriathletes.co.uk and you can enter online at www.entrycetnral.net.