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D.C. triathlon canceled after permit denied

Thursday - 3/15/2012, 4:30pm  ET

WASHINGTON - A triathlon scheduled for the nation's capital in June has been canceled after the National Park Service denied race organizers a permit to use the National Mall.

This would have been the third year of the D.C. Triathlon. The park service typically does not allow races to be run on the Mall in June, the busiest month of the year for visitors, but had made exceptions the past two years.

Park service superintendent Bob Vogel said in a statement Thursday that the exception couldn't be granted this year, in part because the race would have impeded access to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

"Although the NPS for the last two years granted the Triathlon an exception to that policy, we determined that another exception would not be possible," Vogel said in his statement.

"We are expecting many visitors who will be coming specifically to see the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial. The Triathlon would require the closure of Ohio Drive and West Basin Drive for the entire Father's Day weekend of June 17th, impeding access to that memorial and making handicapped access to it almost impossible."

The race announced the cancellation on its website. Registration fees can be refunded or transferred through March 28.

"We understand the disappointment of those who planned to participate in the Triathlon, but it is our responsibility is to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our visitors," Vogel said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)