One of the last races on my bucket list was the one that had become Ironman St Croix 70.3. Although as per this article on Slowtwitch, it didn't start out that way. Ironman has announced that the 2017 race will be the last. St Croix was always a favorite among British pro triathletes, and as well as being a very picturest course, it was also stunningly hard with the beast hill climb on the bike and some great offroad sections on the run.
It wasn't just on my bucket list, Lance Armstrong did it as one of his first races when he returned to triathlon after cycling, and came 3rd. Ben Collins has a great video of the Beast hill on youtube.
I don't know the reasoning behind Ironmans decision to pull the race but this doesn't come as a surprise. Ironmans recent delude of of new races, and their subsequent date, distance changes isn't anything new. Given that Ironmans growth in the USA seems to have stalled, WTC/Ironman are more carefully putting races on the calendar based on their needs, rather than the athletes and given the low numbers for St Croix in recent years this was always on the cards, especially as their race numbers have dropped significantly.
A lot of the original franchised races have been going away, St Croix like the other original franchise races used to have qualifying slots for the full Ironman Kona. These were taken away a few years back, and while they still have 70.3 World Championship slots there are a lot cheaper and easier places to qualify. Getting all the branding and racing equipment out to St Croix can't have been cheap. Although since I've never been, I don't know how much of the regulation branding and race staging they used or had locally. It's unlikely that the WTC/Ironman would want to buy the race for this and just because it was a hard race, and typically hard races don't sell out as much. And so, the only thing I can assume is that the local organisers were not prepared to pay "the kings ransome" to renew the Ironman brand franchise agreement.
Hopefully the race will continue, anyone have any information?