Well, it's a duathlon now, sooner than even I had feared. I'm sure glad I didn't register. I'd really like to see this event succeed, but it's not looking good.
From the race director:
"Swim Segment. We received a letter 9/12/06 from the DC Metro Police stating the Harbor Permit we submitted was denied. The swim segment will be canceled and a 3k run substituted in its place. . . . In recognition for having to cancel the swim, and as our way of saying thanks, all 2006 competitors will receive a $50 registration credit towards the 2007 Nation's Triathlon."
Someone on the TriRats local email list made this very valid observation:
"I've got to say I feel a bit deceived by this. I fully expected the possibility that the swim would be canceled due to poor water quality, particularly as rain is expected the next few days. That's a gamble that all registered participants knew they had to take. However, the race director failed to mention that he still had outstanding, unapproved permits for permission to swim in the water. That's an entirely separate consideration and one that he failed to inform us of. He must have known that there was a strong possibility his permit would be denied, yet he went ahead and advertised his race as a triathlon and omitted the fact that he had yet to be granted permission to swim in the Potomac. Gee, how inconceivable that he might never be granted permission to swim in the Potomac. Anyway, I feel for the guy and all he's had to go through to get an event organized downtown, but I do feel a bit like I've been snookered on this one. And a $50 rebate on an event that may very likely not even occur next year - yeah, thanks a lot."
Update: I understand that the race director has now (Thursday September 14) contacted registrants and offered a full refund. BRAVO! That's a very positive gesture. If I had registered I wouldn't accept, I'd go ahead and do a duathlon. But I haven't, so I won't. I'm glad to hear it, though, and truly hope this event goes forward and earns a great reputation in our nation's capital.