August 10, 2007 (Huntsville, ON) – The Town of Huntsville, Lake of Bays and District of Muskoka are excited to welcome the region’s newest and largest athletic event, with a name recognized and admired around the globe. Hosted by Deerhurst Resort, the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 will take place on September 14, 2008, becoming another qualifying event for the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3.
An off-shoot of the gruelling original Ironman race, once dubbed the “Half Ironman”, the Ironman 70.3 Series hit the road in September 2005 with 16 international races that combined a 1.2 mile (1.9km) swim, a 56 mile (90 km) bike and a 13.1 mile (21.1km) run, totalling 70.3 miles. Now the series has expanded to over 20 events showcasing different, dramatic locales like Switzerland, Singapore, Newfoundland and Monaco to the world.
The event will be managed by Trisport North, helmed by Mitch and Janet Fraser, well-known names on the provincial triathlon scene. In 21 years of race planning, Trisport has hosted over 200 events and 250,000 competitors including the popular Subaru Muskoka Chase.
The dynamic duo of 10-time Ironman champion Lisa Bentley and Dave Cracknell have also been actively involved in helping to secure the necessary rights for Muskoka Ironman 70.3 and mapping out the course design.
“We’re pumped to bring Ironman 70.3 to Muskoka and to the incredible landscape between Huntsville and Lake of Bays,” noted Fraser. “This region offers everything a top race requires – a destination that’s exciting but accessible, plenty of accommodations and services, and a strong spirit of community. We look forward to developing this event over the coming years and are eager to shape the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 into one of the sport’s signature events in North America.”
Buzz for Muskoka Ironman 70.3 is already building, with the race slated to attract over 1,500 international athletes. Australian Craig Alexander, who is currently recognized as the world’s top tri-athlete, after winning the 2006 Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championship as well as this year’s Subaru Muskoka Chase, is just one of over 200 competitors who have already put their name in, the day of the race’s introduction.
“I have raced in Muskoka for the past three seasons,” said Alexander. “I continue to go back because it is a beautiful destination for a race, a challenging course and an extremely well run event by Trisport North. I couldn’t think of a more worthy race to have Ironman 70.3 status. I’ll definitely be on the start line in 2008.”
The race course will incorporate many of Muskoka’s most picturesque areas, starting from the athlete’s village at Deerhurst Resort with a one-loop swim in bracing Peninsula Lake. Next, the tough one-loop bike course will take athletes through Lake of Bays and the District of Muskoka including the hamlets of Dwight, Dorset and Baysville. Finally, racers will tackle an out-and-back run on paved roads incorporating the Fairy Vista Trail. They will finish the final 3 miles (5 km), and soak up spectators’ cheers, on the rapid turns of Deerhurst Lakeside Golf Course paths.
The Muskoka Ironman 70.3 will offer a professional prize purse of $US 25,000 as well as 50 slots to next year’s Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 scheduled for November 8, 2008 in Clearwater, FL.
A total 244 athletes have already entered for this race in that is over 13 months away.
Ironman 70.3 Circles the Globe
Ironman 70.3 race locations currently span 23 destinations around the world: Antwerp, Australia, Austria, Baja, Brazil, California, Cancun, Eagleman (Texas), Florida, Geelong, Germany, Hawaii, Lake Stevens, Monaco, Newfoundland, St. Croix, Steelhead (Michigan), Switzerland, Timberland (New Hampshire), U.K., Vineman, and culminating in the World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, FL. The latest additions to the roster will take place in Singapore on September 2, 2007 and Pucon, Chile on January 20, 2008. The Muskoka Ironman 70.3 also opens in 2008.
Ironman Gets Its Start
During the awards ceremony for a Hawaii running race, a debate ensues among competitors about who is more fit — swimmers, runners or other athletes. One of the participants, Navy Commander John Collins and his wife Judy, dream up a race to settle the argument. They propose combining three existing races together, to be completed in succession: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (112 miles, originally a two-day event) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). “Whoever finishes first we’ll call the Ironman,” said Collins. Fifteen men participate in the initial event held on February 18, 1978; 12 complete the race, led by the first Ironman, Gordon Haller. His winning time: 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds. Throughout its 29-year history, Ironman has transformed from a unique athletic event into a lifestyle and sports brand that includes licensed products and television production. Ironman has global reach with more than 50 events worldwide.