All things must at some stage end…
The Scorchers began 13 years ago. They were a little idea I had while I was President of the Wellington Triathlon Club to give Wellington based Triathletes & Duathletes a consistent series events all year round. We started with the Duathlons during the winter of 2003 to gives athletes something to do rather than hibernating for 8 months.
At the first Scorcher we had 30 participants. We now have over 2000 participants every season. As well as helping to keep you fit, healthy and lose a few kgs, we’ve been responsible for numerous romances, friendships, several engagements, a couple of weddings and a few children even! The Scorchers have become a proud Wellington institution. One with a history that we’re extremely proud of as the series has been run by a small but dedicated team who have worked for the love of it. It has been close friends and family who have supported me in being able to deliver this series to the level I have over the years. Without these people, the Scorchers would not exist and to them I owed a big thank you.
I’ve been acutely aware of this extreme goodwill for a long time now. I have realised that long term it wasn’t sustainable and that I needed to be able to pay my key crew ideally (and myself) wages for their time on these events. These people haven’t just baked a few cakes or stood on a road corner directing participants for a few hours. They’ve dedicated an unmeasurable number of hours both at the events and before and after each event preparing. They are fulfilling significant jobs and roles required in delivering this series. Roles which should be paid roles.
Whilst the series is hugely successful and loved from a participants point of view, the reality is that without some form of additional financial support above what we receive from the entry fees, the series is not able to pay our key staff (that we rely so much on). This makes it difficult to continue to pour the required energy and time into the series that it needs.
We could increase entry fees….we did a small fiddle of these a few years back but the results was a 20% drop in entry fees/numbers received the following season. Additionally the level we would need to increase the fees by is more than what I would consider healthy for an event series of this nature. Trust us, we’ve crunched the numbers.
I’ve tried my best to keep delivering my passion into this series in the hope it could be a long term sustainable part of the Wellington events calendar. And heck, we’ve given it a huge nudge. 13 years! That’s the longest running triathlon series in Wellington! It’s become an institution. It is a small local series that has had a big impact on our participants. We have definitely punched above our weight in delivering a strong product for a very long time, but we have done it on the smallest of budgets.
Last month we celebrated our 100th event. The event was a brilliant day for the participants and us as we reflected on what we’d achieved. We’d brought back the first long distance triathlon to Wellington in 25 years to a sell out field of 400. It was an awesome day. It was an exhausting day / weekend / week for the crew.
For the entire history of the Scorchers we’ve had wonderful supporters and sponsors who help make the series happen by giving in kind their product and services to enhance yours the participants experience. What we’ve been missing for the past few years however is a sponsor who can contribute financially as well as in kind. This type of financial assistance is the reality of what ensures event series of our size can operate. Unfortunately the Scorcher series has not had any form of outside financial assistance for many years.
While working on our ‘passion’ is wonderful, passion alone does not pay the bills. The purpose of any business is to be able to pay staff, recognise their intelligience, hard work, enthusiasm and contribution to your business. Without another funding revenue above and beyond the entries fees this is not possible for us to do. While I’ve been honoured to make my passion my ‘job’ over the past 13 years, the reality is that it is not possible under the current structure for the series to continue to be sustainable unless we can find a stable financial solution that allows our crew (& myself) to be paid a wage.
Financially we have created and grown the event series by ourselves. No funding from WCC, minimal corporate financial sponsorship, no grants as many other events of similar nature may have.
For the last 12-18 months, we have had a two pronged focus –
deliver the best summer of Scorchers & celebrate our 100th event, but also
to search for / investigate solutions for trying to make the Scorchers financially secure so that they can continue to operate (either through sponsorship or community funding etc).
As at this juncture, we have had no success on the second point, and as such we currently have no plans with the Scorchers past the end of this summer (the April 3rd Teams Challenge). i.e This will be the end of the Scorcher series as we know it.
We hope like us, you can celebrate the good that has been created through this series. The achievements not only we’ve made but also yourself. The kilos lost, the fitness gained, the wins the losses the friendships formed over 13 years. It’s been a heck of a ride and I’ve loved creating such a strong community.
For myself I’ll be looking forward to new opportunities – and perhaps organising the occasional Scorcher here and there, if I can make individual events financially viable and fit their implementation around other work.
Keep an eye on our website and Facebook pages.
In the meantime, please make the most of what could be the final 3 Scorchers, ever. And thank you for your support in helping create this series.
Yours in celebrating an awesome 13 years of triathlon and duathlon history in Wellington,
P.S: If you do know of an organisation searching for an event series to partner with, then of course we’ve always got time for a coffee to chat #saveourscorchers