It's official: Ironman is racing home to Penticton in 2020
It takes determination, will power and mind over matter for the ultimate endurance title of Ironman, and the world-renowned triathlon race is coming home.
Ironman executives from Colorado and Tampa were in Penticton on Tuesday afternoon to make the official announcement.
“Penticton is where we set all of our benchmarks as an industry and we have always held up the industry against what we have done here in the past in Penticton,” said Ironman regional director Dave Christen.
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The race consists of a 3.86-km open water swim, a 180.25-km bicycle ride followed by a full marathon 42.20-km run, raced in that order and without a break.
“Our event and our sport really grew up in this town so it’s great to be back,” he said.
Penticton was one of the first cities to host Ironman in 1983 and it played host city until 2012, when it severed ties with the world-famous brand.
Penticton mayor John Vassilaki said its return will have a major economic impact.
“The economic impact to Penticton and the surrounding area is somewhere between $10 and $15 million per year,” he said. “We hope to have anywhere between 1,800 and 2,500 participants.”
Hosting the massive sporting event will come at a cost. The total is $663,000 including $410,000 in cash and in-kind contributions and $200,000 in private sector donations.
City staff have been in negotiations for months to reach a five-year deal.
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“Our people stood hard and stood straight to make sure that we get the best deal we can,” Vassilaki said.
Local triathletes are elated; they say nothing compares to Ironman.
“I’m really excited, the community is really excited,” said Penticton Triathlon Club vice president Peter Byrnes.
“It’s absolutely the strongest triathlon brand in the world. The numbers are incredible — nothing pulls the people in like Ironman does,” he said.
Event organizers said the race attracts premiere athletes from around the globe.
“It’s going to be a very international field. I would expect more than 50 per cent of the athletes will come from outside of Canada,” Christen said.
Ironman will be racing back to Penticton in August 2020.