This is incorrect. The local competition has never been stronger and is due in part to many programs championed by Mary Wittenberg.
I'll be much more direct than others here. Local competitive running has been completely hijacked by hobby joggers who are willing to pay vast sums of money to complete a marathon in 5hrs+ with zero to no training. They then flash their race photos on Facebook and slap the 26.2 sticker on their cars for the "look at me" effect. So if you're suggesting in any way I should not only resign to that but actually be happy about this "growth" you are very out of touch.
Most of us here don't want to see meatheads and tutu-wearers flooding our local races. I run because I love to run and I encourage anyone to take up running to stay in shape and challenge themselves. Most of all it's a sport one can hopefully be active in for their whole lives. So if you can't understand why we feel the local running scene is hurt by all the commoditization and consumerism then you are plain and simple brain washed. Given you do tris, I really don't expect you to understand though.