For 33 years, it did succeed. But Longmont will not tri, tri again.

City officials have canceled the Longmont Triathlon, a staple since 1981 for individuals breaking into the sport. The Kids Only Triathlon still will be held May 31.

With a growing number of races in the area -- including three triathlons at Union Reservoir -- the possibility of dropping the city-backed event has been raised more than once in the past few years. But it still hit hard for long-time organizer Karen Charles, who had half-expected that she and the Longmont Triathlon would retire together.

"I thought I was ready," said Charles, the city's aquatic supervisor, as she tried to prepare an announcement of the decision Thursday. "Now that I'm writing this up, it's just a little harder than I thought it would be."

When it began, Longmont's mix of swimming, cycling and running was one of the first triathlons in the state. It became a popular one, at one time attracting close to 400 competitors. Even in the past two or three years, Charles said, it drew around 350.

"For many, many years it was kind of the starter triathlon," said Mayor Dennis Coombs, a competitor in the event for 28 consecutive years. "It got people like myself into the sport, because it wasn't an intimidating event."

Much of that was because the water portion of the race was held at Centennial Pool, a more familiar and less threatening prospect to local swimmers than plunging into an open lake or reservoir. It also helped that it was an all-day event, giving competitors plenty of time to rest from the last event before going on to the next.


But over the past five years, Charles said, events in the area began to multiply. Even just within Longmont, last year saw the Summer Open Sprint Triathlon in May, the Outdoor Divas All Women's Triathlon in August and the Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon in September, all at Union. This year, a fourth event -- an Ironman in Boulder -- is holding its sprint distance race on the same day Longmont would have had its event.

With all those alternatives, recreation director Jeff Friesner said, it seemed to be time for the city to look for a different event to put its resources into that would still help people get fit.

"We felt it made sense, that this need in our community was being satisfied, and that it would make sense for us to step back and look at other ways to serve our community that aren't being served right now," Friesner said.

"It's disappointing, but not surprising," Coombs said.

The event cost about $12,000 to put on in 2013.

The children's event that will be held starts with a 100-yard swim, 3-mile cycle and six-tenths of a mile run for the youngest entrants, up to 400 yards of swimming, 6 miles of cycling and a 2-mile run for the oldest ones.

If an independent group were to revive the event or something like it, Charles said, she would be more than willing to lend her expertise.

"I've been the race director since the early '80s," she said. "I hopefully would have a little information to give people."