Challenge Henley organisers hint at new race location for UK’s only Challenge triathlon
Following the 2013 edition of Challenge Henley, race organisers Just Racing UK have hinted strongly that the event may not be staged in 2014, with a new venue taking its place.
Challenge Henley, which first ran in 2011, has seen steadily growing participation and spectator numbers in 2012 and 2013, but tussles with local government and residents have been continual thorns in the side of Just Racing UK, with the bike course being changed for this year’s event due to protestations about the inconvenience caused by the closed-roads event.
Just Racing UK say that interest in 2014 entries has been high, but no announcement will be made until early October following a Challenge Henley debrief.
Alan Rose, Challenge Henley race director, said: “An event of this size or with this ambition requires a large investment in capital and the support of the local community. Both of these factors necessitate a long-term plan.”
Despite finding a “premier location” that could deliver on the promise of the Challenge Family’s worldwide reputation as one of the best race series in the world, Rose made it clear that there were problems with running the event in Henley-on-Thames.
“Whilst the support on the streets of Henley was phenomenal in 2013, sadly certain elements of the town and two of the area’s elected representatives have made it extremely difficult for myself and my staff to deliver the event.
“We are currently considering all of our options for 2014 but can guarantee that the 2014 event will be another outstanding athlete experience. We expect to make an announcement in the early part of October, when we will also open entries to the Challenge UK triathlon.”
The use of Challenge UK rather than Henley is a strong indication that the only Challenge event in the UK will find a different home in 2014 unless there is a drastic change in the conditions surrounding the race.
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