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The Hollywood Reporter

Malibu Triathlon Runs Into Fishy Situation: Tidewater Goby Force Organizers to Alter Course

By Chris Gardner,


The Malibu Triathlon — a high-profile event scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 that in years past has hosted the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Zac Efron, Max Greenfield and Mark Feuerstein — is in danger of being scrapped before it starts.

Organizers recently sent out an email blast to competitors alerting them to a change in the bike course due to a unique reason. Heavy rains in the Los Angeles area flooded the Zuma Underpass, called a “key part” of that section of the race, and before the water could be cleared, translucent two-inch fish called tidewater goby took up residence there.

Triathlon organizers teamed with City of Malibu officials and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Beaches and Harbors to hatch a plan that protected the fish and its new habitat while minimizing “our impact on the local ecosystem.” In doing so, they proposed a course change but the permit was “denied on a technicality,” organizers confirm in the emailed statement. That technicality is that residents in the area must be notified 32 days prior to an event and that deadline has come and gone.

“We are appealing that decision and are confident we will be able to hold the safe, enjoyable, and inspiring event we all want while helping some of the most vulnerable in our society,” read the statement. The follow-up appeal will be heard and voted on during Monday night’s Malibu City Council meeting. Further frustrating participants, some of whom have taken to social media to express their disappointment, is the fact that the Olympic Distance was shortened to 14.4 miles from 25 while the Classic Distance went down to 10.8 miles from 17.

The Hollywood Reporter reached out to event reps for additional comment and a rep says, “We are working collaboratively with the City of Malibu and all other stakeholders to ensure a safe, enjoyable and inspiring event while helping some of the most vulnerable in our society by generating vital funds for pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with $1 million already raised this year. Our appeal will be heard on Monday by Malibu City Council and we are optimistic of a positive outcome that will allow this incredible event to proceed.”

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