I just heard about this event, though it is in its fifth year, because I don't pay much attention to triathlons. It is discriminatory against men and therefore illegal; it should be changed or forced to stop.
The very same people who are appalled that there was a time when the Boston Marathon did not allow women to compete now have events where men are not allowed to compete and they do not seem to see that there is no difference. Either one has equality or one does not; reverse discrimination is still discrimination.
This problem recurs frequently in local sports. In the late 1970's, there was a national series of running road races, the Bonne Bell 10K's, which were for women only. A Minneapolis runner, who happened to be male and an attorney, sued the local race for discrimination. The race was found to discriminate on the basis of gender and was discontinued. Only a few years later, the Melpomene Institute, created to "eliminate health disparities in Minnesota by empowering women and girls to lead active healthy full lives" held a yearly 5K race. It, too, was challenged as discriminatory, so a separate men's race was added ("separate but equal" apparently being legal in this case, though the year when it rained for one race and not the other shows separate is never equal). This race appears to have ended in 2008. The Bonne Bell race returned in 2006 as a co-ed race.
The Minneapolis YWCA's website proclaims their mission as "eliminating racism, empowering women." When empowering women happens because it precludes opportunities for men, it is wrong.
I am sure that some will declare, "If men want to do a triathlon, they have plenty of choices, why can't we have one race just for women?" That same argument was used in defense of the Boston Marathon's gender discrimination. It does not conform to laws regarding gender equity.
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