Furious triathletes have slammed the “shambolic” organisation and conditions of a race at Newby Hall on Sunday with many demanding their money back.
Almost 200 participants signed up to compete in the Rubicon Middle Distance Triathlon near Ripon which involved a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike and a 21km run.
However, the triathletes were disappointed to learn on Saturday evening that the race would now be a duatholon as the swim had been cancelled due to dangerous water levels in the River Ure.
Following the race, organised by Bike2 events, frustrated participants took to Facebook and Racecheck to complain about other “appalling” aspects of the day.
A Facebook page called RubiCON action group was created less than 24 hours after the race finished with many of the triathletes calling for their £120 entry fee to be refunded.
The scathing reviews claimed that there were queues for registration, delays during the race, a lack of medics, poor signage and a “chaotic” bike transition.
Emma Stevenson posted on Racecheck: “I feel let down. I feel as though I was robbed of my entry fee through false promises. I will never enter this race again.”
Rob Arnold said: “All in all it was probably the worst orgnaised race I have ever done in 30 years in triathlon.
“As a gesture of good at least a partial refund would be good. For those for whom this was their first triathlon I apologise on behalf of the traithlon community.
Gemma Frost posted on Bike2 Events’ Facebook page: “This is the worst race I have ever been too. Words cannot describe how appalled I am at the lack of organisation.”
Mark Taylor said: “Rubicon 2016. Total shambles from start to finish. Worst organisation I’ve ever seen. Never again.”
However, Gordon Bell, owner of Bike2 Events, stressed that the swim had been cancelled purely on safety reasons and defended his company against the “libellous” accusations.
He said: “On Saturday, we thought that the water levels in the river would be too dangerous come Sunday morning and had to make an unpopular decision.
“We used data from the previous week where there had been similar levels of rain which said the water levels would spike just when the swimmers would be in the river.
“The river did exactly what we thought it might and on Sunday, even people that had taken part in the race thanked me for potentially saving a life.
“There have been complaints about safety but it’s the first year where there has been no accidents.
Gordon insisted that the company had enough kayaks to make sure the swim went ahead and that there three emergency response companies on site, contrary to some reviews.
Despite apologising for the poor organisation on the day, Mr Bell said the company would not be offering refunds as the race still went ahead as a duatholon.
He said: “Overall the experience wasn’t good because of the set up issues from the day before but we managed to organise a duatholon instead.
“The allegations of poor safety are unfounded and by complaining about this, people are seeing it as an opportunity to get something for nothing.
“I don’t think we will be back next year. The bad press created by all of this has put the nail in the coffin for this race and I can’t see it recovering."