A move Peoria made late last year is causing at least one local race to throw in the towel. The Peoria Triathlon Club just announced it will not be hosting its annual triathlon this year, blaming an increased cost for police.
Held along the riverfront with the swim portion in the Illinois River, the Peoria Triathlon has seen solid turn-outs since its start in 2015. But, the local triathlon club has announced it will simply cost too much to put on the race this year.
Last December the Peoria City Council approved raising the fees for races and other events. Now it will cost $200 per officer and $100 per intersection where barricades are needed.
Race Director Brad Nauman says for the Peoria Triathlon alone, they would need up to 25 police officers, and would be looking at an additional cost of between $10,000 and $15,000.
Now he says it's both the races and the city who are losing out.
"Most races they take you out to the cornfields or some lake outside of town and say, 'here are a bunch of roads, go ride on them.' And we won't see you, there are no fans that see it, there are no spectators. And having an event downtown is designed to showcase the city, and that's what the event did," Nauman shares.
And it's not just the Peoria Triathlon. This could impact other big events in the River City, too. Take for example Peoria's WhiskeyDaddle marathon and half marathon. Race Director Adam White says, as of right now, that race is still on for the fall. But he's already looking at an increased cost of $30,000, just for police.
"The entire event will be in question for 2019. We are going to have to see a massive surge in registration to cover the event," White states.
Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich previously stated the fees were necessary to cover the cost of labor for staff at these types of events, but White wonders if they could have found another way.
"None of them actually came to race organizers or Shazam Racing and asked us what we felt was going to be the consequences of this going forward," he claims.
Meanwhile, some local athletes and race directors, alike, worry that this could be the beginning of the end for these types of events in Peoria.
"I wish we could say there will be another one in the future, but I think for those triathletes that are going to miss it, be happy you got do it. And if you really want it to happen again, start thinking as a racer what it takes to put on a race and what you can do to help bridge that gap," says Nauman.