Officials announce Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon fee going up

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is controversy surrounding San Francisco's famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Organizers have announced a huge price increase for participants next year that has some local athletes threatening to boycott.

It's a bucket list event for thousands of athletes. Some wait years to be chosen for a limited number of spots in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

"This has been in the past a world class triathlon event in our backyard," Liz Abbett said.

Abbett has participated in the grueling competition. It involves a swim from the rock, followed by an 18 mile bike race and ending with an eight mile run.

Abbett's organization San Francisco Triathlon has also helped out with the event, but not after the organizers, IMG Worldwide decided to hike the entry fee from $450 to $750 for next year. "A lot of our members have said, 'that's it, we're done,' not worth it anymore and not even worth supporting as volunteers," Abbett said.

Sam Gager, president of the Golden Gate Triathlon Club, said IMG Worldwideis taking advantage of the athletes.

His organization has more than 500 members. "We're all in it together and when you look at this fee hike, it doesn't feel like IMG is in it with us anymore if that makes sense. It feels like they are in it for themselves," Gager said.

ABC7 News was unable to get a response from IMG Worldwide, but on its Facebook page organizers said they needed to "maintain the integrity of competition and safety of all involved."

"I find it hard to believe that water safety went up 67 percent," Gager said.

The local clubs believe athletes from around the world will be willing to pay for this marque event, but the hometown crowd that usually cheers them on may be missing.
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