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Ironman Lubbock 70.3—a race that was considered to be the first major multisport event to take place since COVID-19 struck the U.S.—was abruptly canceled Wednesday evening by Ironman officials. According to a press release sent out late Wednesday by Ironman representatives, the race could not go on as scheduled “due to the acceleration of COVID-19 infections in Texas.”
“In accordance with our Ironman Safe Return to Racing protocol, the health and safety of our community is of utmost priority and in alignment with remarks made by Governor Abbott on Tuesday, June 23 it would not be responsible to host the event at this moment in time,” the statement went on to say.
Governor Greg Abbott told Kbtx.com reporters that “because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home. Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home.”
Triathlete reported on Wednesday afternoon that the race was still going to take place even as a massive spike of coronavirus cases had hit the city of Lubbock and statewide recently. In the last two weeks, Lubbock had reported more cases than reported in the previous three months combined, according to a story in everythinglubbock.com. Texas itself has seen a sharp rise in cases since June 14, culminating in a new high-water mark of 5,551 new cases reported on Wednesday by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“We are grateful to Mayor Pope of The City of Lubbock and his fine team of professionals, along with our long-time partners Mike and Marti Greer, for their outstanding work to do everything possible to host this race” President and CEO of Ironman, Andrew Messick said. “But ultimately the COVID-19 headwinds in Texas right now are just too strong for the race to happen.”
According to Ironman’s statement, all roughly 1,000 registrants of the Ironman 70.3 Lubbock would receive an email with further information on. Messick said he is hoping the race will return in 2021.