Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon

Sun May 3, 2020 Katy, TX US 77494 Directions
COVID-19 Updates

We will use this page to post information sent to participants via email regarding the COVID-19 impacts to the event so we can have a record of all communication. This link will be posted to the Facebook event page and main Typhoon Texas Kids Tri Facebook page.

 

Selection Deadline, email sent on 4/03/2020 at 8:55am

The following email was only send to those who had not made a selection for their 2020 event registration as of 8:10am on Friday, April 3rd. 

Good morning, tonight (Friday, April 3rd) at 11:59pm is the deadline to make your selection for your 2020 event registration. 

The two options available are:

  1. Participate virtually.
  2. Partial deferral of your 2020 registration. 

Please click HERE to make your selection by Friday, April 3rd (TONIGHT) at 11:59pm.

You are receiving this email only if you have not made a selection. If you haven't made a selection by tonight at 11:59pm you will automatically be placed in the virtual race. 

For more details about the selections and how I came to these decisions please reference the email that was sent on Saturday, March 28th by clicking HERE

Thank you for your continued support. I will be emailing everyone in the next couple of days with details about their specific selection. 

 

Explanations & Updated Options, email sent on 3/28/2020 at 3:55pm

Good afternoon, I wanted to take a moment to address some of the emails, questions, and comments I’ve received over the last 28 hours and to provide updated options for participants that were not able to process a deferral yesterday. 

But first, I wanted to let you know I have been able to get the add-ons refunded as mentioned in yesterday’s email so you should see a credit in the next few days for any add-ons you purchased when you registered. 

If you are not interested in an explanation, you can scroll to the bottom of this email to see the UPDATED OPTIONS section to see what options I am making available. 

My name is Tony Sapp, I am the owner of Negative Split Productions. Negative Split Productions owns and operates the Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon and provides event productions services to many Houston-area events. I am not a weekend race director or have the backing of a large corporation or have another job. I am a one-person business that does this for a living and to provide for my family. I have attempted to keep my business separate from me personally and not be the “face” of the business which is why you may have seen or noticed a lot of “we”, “our”, “us”, etc. in previous messages. Truth be told, it is just me.

I pride myself in being communicative. If you have ever emailed the race, you have received a reply from me within 24 hours at the absolute most. In most situations it is an hour or less. I am 100% hands on and want to be as open and honest as possible with those who trust me with their business. 

Like many of you I’m trying to adapt not just my personal life but also my business which happens to focus on creating events that bring many people together to pursue a collective goal of being healthy. COVID-19 has taken that away. In the past two weeks I’ve watched my peers in the industry scramble  to salvage their livelihoods in race production and the industry as a whole. I have been in this business for nearly a decade and this is the first time I’m fearful for the entire event productions industry. Overnight, everything has been put on hold and there is no end in sight. I’m confident the industry and I will get through this but only with the support and patience of event participants, like you.

I love talking about this industry so if you have any other questions about me or this business, feel free to reach out but for now, I’ll begin explaining the decisions I’ve made over the last few weeks. 

COULD I SAVE THE RACE?

Before the water park informed me about their choice to push back the open date on a phone call yesterday morning, I sat and thought about the kids. What if the park allowed me to have the race? What could I do to add extra health precautions to ease the minds of the families? Would those precautions be enough? How would my team of coordinators and volunteers feel about helping again this year? Would they be safe? Those  “what ifs” didn’t matter now the park has closed, not opening until Memorial Day at the earliest. 

WHY DIDN’T YOU POSTPONE THE RACE UNTIL LATER IN YEAR? 

I had several conversations with waterpark management about the possibility of postponing the race. They have been amazing to work with and were extremely understanding and flexible with where this race is. They are true partners with the race and it, obviously, wouldn’t be possible without them. The bottom line is, we have no idea how long this is going to last. By most accounts this will be going on into summer. And let’s be honest with each other, even if they decided to open restaurants and some other things in May would you be comfortable at an event with nearly 8,000 participants, spectators, crew, and volunteers with the threat of COVID-19 still lingering and no vaccine available in August or early September? 

That is why we chose to not postpone the event and decided to offer the virtual option.

WHY A VIRTUAL RACE? 

I hoped the solution to convert the Typhoon Texas Kids Tri into a virtual race would create an alternative to complete cancellation. I was hoping to create a personal event you and your children could do together in a safe environment while earning what I think is a really nice shirt and finisher’s medal. 

A virtual race may not be the same experience, but it is the right alternative as we are being asked to social distance.

WHY DID YOU LIMIT DEFERRALS? 

This event has a capacity of 1,200 registered participants in the triathlon. The venue has offered to open that up (the waterpark can accommodate tens of thousands), but my goal is to ensure safety while providing the best experience possible for every athlete. In the first year of the race we started with a cutoff of 1,000 and have slowly increased the number of kids taken each year. When I hit 1,200 I made a decision that was the limit for a single day event. 

With 300 deferrals, that makes up 25% of the available registration spots. This means, 25% of the expected event revenue was brought in during the 2020 event registration period. For the 2020 event, race items have already been purchased, non-refundable deposits for rentals have already been paid, timing chips have already been purchased, etc. Over 75% of expenses are incurred 8+ weeks before the race. These expenses do not roll over to next year’s event. We have to cover all those costs again for all participants that defer their entry. In order to ensure the future of the event, we have no choice but to limit the number of deferrals. 

I hoped the deferral option would be to accommodate those who could not participate in the virtual race. Yes, I know some of the children compete for the experience but the idea of deferrals came from some participants who were out of the country or those working in essential businesses whose schedules have been chaotic and unpredictable. I wholeheartedly support those participants who are experiencing the upheaval of COVID-19 and wanted to give them a solution. The 300 deferrals that were allocated for next year was for them. Instead, the allotment was used within two hours of announcing availability when the expectation was that it would accommodate anyone who had been directly affected by the ongoing pandemic. I honestly expected deferral spots would be available well into next week. 

WHY CAN’T I GET A REFUND?

Over 75% of race expenses have already been spent covering race items, non-refundable deposits, etc. Like me, my vendors are unable to refund deposits or take back events shirts that have already been printed. Actions like that would also put them out of business, they are mostly small businesses too. 

DON’T YOU HAVE EVENT INSURANCE? 

Short answer, of course we do but event cancellation insurance doesn’t cover pandemics. 

Why doesn’t it cover pandemics? Think about how event cancellation insurance would normally pay out. Most things that would cancel an event are localized to a small area within the US, think Harvey or Imelda basically shutting down parts of the greater Houston area, but Texas and the rest of the US was unaffected. Now think about the effects a pandemic is having on your daily life and think about all the races occurring in the US over the last few weeks. The insurance companies wouldn’t have the money to cover every cancelled event in the entirety of the US. 

That covers the bulk of the questions I’ve received but feel free to reach out with any additional questions. Now on to the available options. 

UPDATED OPTIONS

There are two options that are available to all participants:

    1. Participate Virtually. You can choose to participate in the event virtually and earn your  finisher's medal and race packet that will be shipped to you. See the VIRTUAL RULES & INFO page for more details.
    2. Partial Deferral of Your 2020 Registration. This option will allow you to register for the 2021 event for $20. You are not being charged anything now, the 2021 registration fee will be owed when you decide to register. For more details on why a partial deferral is being offered, see the “Why Did You Limit Deferrals?” section above.

To make your selection please click HERE. You have until Friday April 3, 2020 at 11:59pm to make your selection. Anyone who has not made a selection by that time will be automatically placed in the virtual race. 

If you selected to defer your registration yesterday, you do not have to do anything at this time unless you would like to change your selection and participate in the virtual race. 

This is an extremely unfortunate situation that I could in no way predict. The Coronavirus has impacted our lives in so many ways and the best thing we can do is adapt. 

I appreciate your support and hope this information clarifies our decisions.

Tony Sapp

Founder & Race Director

 

Event Converting to Virtual Race, email sent on 3/27/2020 at 10:05am

Good morning, I have been working with all of our event partners to determine the best course of action given the extreme and unprecedented events caused by COVID-19. 

Due to the guidance put in place by federal and state authorities, restrictions on our venue partners, event limitations placed by the City of Katy, and, most importantly, the health and safety of all our participants, their families and friends, and our race crew including the many volunteers and coordinators that make the race possible; the 2020 Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon will be converted to a virtual event. A virtual event allows us to introduce kids to multi-sport and earn their finisher medals while maintaining safety precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

All currently registered participants are transferred to a virtual version of their scheduled event. For the virtual event, you’ll submit your times and we’ll mail you your race packet and finisher’s medal once you complete the instructions that can be found at https://www.typhoontexaskidstri.com/Race/TyphoonTexasKidsTri/Page/virtual-info. I will be updating the page with more information over the coming days. Once I have all the details finalized, I will communicate via email and will post on social media. For those completing their 5th consecutive year of the event, you’ll also receive your medal display with your finisher items. 

If you choose to not participate in the virtual race, you can select an option to defer your entry to the 2021 event. When registration opens for the 2021 event (most likely in late September/early October) you’ll receive a link to register. By selecting this option you are opting out of the 2020 virtual race and won’t be eligible to receive your race packet or finisher’s medal. If you would like to opt for the event deferral, please visit https://typhoontexaskidstri.com and select the deferral option on the website popup. There is no fee to defer your entry but we are limiting deferrals to the first 300 participants that select this option and the cutoff to make the selection is Friday, April 3rd at 11:59pm. If a selection isn’t made by this time or if the deferral limit is reached, remaining athletes will stay in the virtual race.

Any add-ons purchased through the registration platform will be refunded over the coming days. This includes additional waterpark tickets, race morning packet pickup, and training mini-sessions.  This is a manual process and we ask that you please be patient while we issue add-on refunds. My goal is to get this completed within a week but am asking that you please allow 2 to 3 weeks. 

Store purchases will be shipped out at no cost to you over the coming weeks. I will attempt to include the items with race packets for those that completed the event virtually depending on how/when the item(s) were purchased. 

I’ve made available an FAQ specifically regarding this transition to virtual that can be found at https://www.typhoontexaskidstri.com/Race/TyphoonTexasKidsTri/Page/faq-supplement. I’ve tried to anticipate your questions and will update accordingly as needed.

This has been an incredibly difficult email to put together because over the past 10 months I’ve put everything I have into planning this event, expanding the event to introduce more kids to multi-sport without sacrificing the experience or safety of all participants and celebrating our milestone 5th annual race. This unprecedented pandemic has caused a lot of disruption in our daily lives and I was hoping we would be able to celebrate getting through this difficult time with an amazing summer day at the waterpark. With your patience and continued support, we will be back at the waterpark in 2021 with an even bigger and better event. 

Thank you all for your support and I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of the kids completing the race virtually!

Sincerely,
Tony Sapp
Race Director

Email #2 Sent on March 18, 2020 at 10:15am

Good morning, we are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation very closely and have been communicating daily with Typhoon Texas Waterpark management and City of Katy officials. Because we are still 6.5 weeks out from the event and the fast moving situation, there is not any real guidance on how to proceed so we are continuing to operate based on the published event schedule with the precautionary measures mentioned in the previous update sent on Monday, March 16th.

However, we recognize that some of you may be uncomfortable with the current situation so we are going to reopen the option to defer your entry to the 2021 event. Additionally, we are reducing the standard deferral fee from $20 down to $10 per deferred entry.  As of right now, the option to defer your race entry will remain open until April 1st. Registration will remain off with the waitlist open for this year’s event until we get more clarity on this continuously evolving situation. 

If you would like to defer your entry to the 2021 event you can click HERE or you can visit your RunSignUp profile, click Manage Registration under the Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon and process your deferral from there. If you need additional assistance with the deferral process please review the tutorial at https://help.runsignup.com/support/solutions/articles/17000062915-defer-registration-claim-deferral. 

Once your deferral is processed, you will be removed from this year’s event and you’ll receive an email with a link to register for the 2021 event when registration opens (most likely in late September/early October). 

Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you at the 5th annual Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon. 

Tony Sapp
Founder & Race Director

 

Email #1 Sent on March 16, 2020 at 7:10am

Good morning, 

We have been following the COVID-19 situation very closely over the last few weeks, recognizing that it has been a very fast and fluid situation with new information being reported daily. We have been working on a plan to ensure the safety of everyone at the race with additional precautions and equipment some of which include:

  • hand washing and sanitizer stations throughout the entire race site
  • new procedures for water stops and transition
  • all pre-packaged food at the post race food area
  • additional training for race coordinators, etc.

Up to this point we have been operating as if the event would continue as scheduled. However, at approximately 8pm last night (Sunday, March 15th) the CDC put forth a nationwide recommendation to cancel events with more that 50 people for the next 8 weeks. The Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon is just under 7 weeks away so it does fall within that recommended period. 

What does this mean for the race? Well, to be honest, we are not certain what the overall impacts to the race will be yet. Over the next few days we will be working with Typhoon Texas Waterpark and the City of Katy to determine the best path forward.  We will be in touch as soon as possible with a plan.

In the meantime we have turned off registration and put all events on a waitlist. Until we get this sorted out, we don't want additional participants registering for the race. 

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we work through this unprecedented pandemic. 

Tony Sapp
Founder & Race Director

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