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Burley's 34th Spudman Triathlon on July 25 cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns
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Burley's 34th Spudman Triathlon on July 25 cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns

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Spudman Triathlon

Triathlon athletes enter the Snake River ahead of the start of the swim stage during the Burley Lions Spudman Triathlon Saturday in Burley.

BURLEY — The Burley Lions Club Spudman Committee made the decision to cancel its 34th Spudman Triathlon on July 25 due to possible community spread of COVID-19.

Mike Tilley, one of the race directors for the event said they weighed the $3.5 million economic impact of the event with the health risks associated with the virus before making the decision.

The race had drawn its capacity of 2,300 athletes who registered for the event and they will all be given full refunds, he said.

The feedback from athletes so far, he said, has been very positive.

“Given that this decision is being made due to the health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we approached the decision from a health perspective. It wasn’t an accounting question, so we did not consult with accountants and it wasn’t a sports question so we did not consult with athletes. It wasn’t a political question, so we did not consult with politicians,” said Tilley.

Tilley said the committee spoke with health care professionals they knew personally.

“There was not a single health care provider that we talked to that did not emphasize the seriousness of this virus,” Tilley said. “It’s real and it’s infectious. There is a lot of speculation about the virus but we were not comfortable having our race based on speculation.”

Tilley said the committee waited as long as it could before making the decision.

Athletes had registered from 27 states, and most of them generally bring family and friends with them to the race, which draws 5,000 spectators.

“It could be a COVID disaster for our area,” he said.

Alice Schenk, of Paul, said as an athlete she is sad the race is canceled.

“But, I’m in favor of their decision,” she said. “They did their research. and I believe it is in the best interest of our community.”

“There is a lot of speculation about the virus but we were not comfortable having our race based on speculation.”

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