Delaware will host an “Ironman” 70.3-mile triathlon on Aug. 21, 2016, said event and city officials.
The race consists of a 1.2-mile swim in Delaware Lake; a 56-mile, three-county bike ride; and a 13.1-mile run that starts and finishes at Selby Stadium in Delaware.
The “Ironman 70.3 Ohio” is the 30th such event in the United States, and the first of its kind in the state.
“Delaware is honored to host the new ‘Ironman 70.3 Ohio’ event and the sport’s best athletes,” said Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle in a prepared statement. “This spectacular event and the city of Delaware will provide a great experience for the athletes, fans and families.”
“As the Ironman 70.3 race series continues to grow, we are excited to have Delaware, Ohio, join our family of exceptional events,” said Steve Meckfessel, managing director of Global Race Operations for Ironman, in a statement. “Ironman 70.3 Ohio is sure to provide unforgettable race experiences for our athletes and we are proud to be able to offer a new race in this central location.”
Meckfessel made a presentation to City Council in April. At the time, he said that 2,500 athletes from 45-plus states and 25-plus countries would compete in the Ironman 70.3.
“It’s a half-Ironman if you will,” Meckfessel told council, referring to the Ironman World Championship, held at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which is 140.6 miles in length. “We’re interested in bringing one of those kinds of events to this community. It’s a community that has a lot of enthusiasm.”
The Tampa-based World Triathlon Corp., which owns the rights to the event, said of the race on its website: “Delaware, Ohio, offers athletes looking for a low-key Ironman 70.3 the perfect mix of urban amenities and rural Midwestern charm.”
“They were looking for a home in Ohio, and they found one here in Delaware,” said City Manager Tom Homan. “We represent the kind of mid-market city that they were looking for. We’re delighted they’ve selected us and look forward to a long-lasting partnership.”
The city was approached more than a year ago by Ironman about putting on the event, Homan said. In addition, he talked with his counterparts in Benton Harbor, Michigan; Boulder, Colorado; and Galveston, Texas — cities who also hold Ironman 70.3 races.
“I wanted to get a sense of what it takes for a community to make these things successful,” Homan said. “It was overwhelmingly positive feedback I got from all three of those communities in terms of the operation and the race, the impact from the athletes and the fans. It’s a great way to market the community — there will be a lot of people coming into Delaware that have never been here before, and we want them to return as tourists, residents, entrepreneurs.”
Homan said the city will form a Delaware 70.3 steering committee of city officials, community members and others to help put on the race.
Registration for Ironman 70.3 will begin Oct. 27 at Ironman.com/ohio70.3.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.