General registration for Delaware’s 2016 Ironman 70.3 Ohio triathlon sold out in less than a week.
“That’s a milestone,” City Manager Tom Homan told Delaware City Council on Monday. “It is the second-fastest sellout of a 70.3 series race.”
An official from World Triathlon Corp., which puts on the Ironman 70.3-mile events, made a presentation to council in the spring about bringing the event to town. It was announced that Delaware would receive the Ohio event last month, and registration began on Oct. 27.
However, there were behind-the-scenes talks before then.
“We were approached over a year ago about it through another party, and it just kind of grew from there,” Homan told The Gazette in a recent interview. “They were looking for this kind of mid-market. Once they knew they wanted to be in central Ohio, and introduction was made to us with them, and we just continued that dialogue with them over the last year.”
In the meantime, Homan talked to his counterparts in Benton Harbor, Michigan; Boulder, Colorado; and Galveston, Texas, cities which also hold Ironman events that draw athletes from near and far.
“I got overwhelmingly positive feedback from all three of those communities in terms of the quality of the operation and the race, and the impact it has on the community,” Homan said. “A lot of people will be coming to Delaware who have never been here before. We want them to return as tourists, residents and entrepreneurs.”
Initially, the race was planned for August 2015.
“We realized if we wanted to do the kind of quality event with them that they wanted and their athletes expect, we really needed time to pull things together, in terms of the race routes and the venues,” Homan said. “We concluded late last year that we just weren’t going to be able to deliver to make an August 2015 race possible. They understood that, and we said let’s focus on 2016, and use the beginning of 2015 to secure the venues and get these other pieces in place.”
The event will now take place on Aug. 21, 2016. The triathlon will consist of a 1.2-mile swim in Delaware Lake; a 56-mile bike ride in three counties; and a half-marathon that starts and finishes at Ohio Wesleyan University.
“This is one of the premiere international events when it comes to endurance sports,” Homan said. “Ohio has always been a strong market for endurance racing. They were looking for a home here in Ohio, and they found one in Delaware.”
While Delaware has won the right to hold the race, Homan said the next step is to form a steering committee that will be responsible for different aspects of the event.