Ironman To Come To Atlantic City
On a beautiful fall afternoon in front of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Delmo Sports CEO Stephen Delmonte and WTC (Ironman) Event Licensing Director Steve Meckfessel announced that WTC would bring their Ironman brand of triathlon racing to Atlantic City with a 70.3 series event. The 70.3 mile event considered a “half Ironman” distance race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run. The race is slated to be conducted in September around the time of Ironman Maryland. The course will be similar to the Challenge Atlantic City course with a few adjustments that will enhance the athlete’s experience.
Ironman Atlantic City will have 40 qualifying slots to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga Tennessee. There is no plan for a pro field or pro purse in year one.
This announcement wraps up a hectic month of speculation and rumors. It also wraps up the relationship between Delmo Sports and Challenge Family who have a “mutually agreed dissolution of their partnership”. The terms of the separation are confidential and all parties are contractually bound to not discuss these proceedings.
What does this mean for the triathlete? The good news is nearly endless!! It is a 70.3 event but as Stephen said in an interview with Onefortypointsix Media, the course is there and once WTC gets comfortable with him, a full 140.6 mile Ironman in Atlantic City is a very real possibility. As Mr. Delmonte stated “the only thing better than this would be to add a 140.6 race”.
The Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 race will also feature a relay option but there are no plans in place right now for an Aqua Bike event. This relay option helps get as many people involved in the sport as possible which is a great thing for triathlon.
For accommodations, one of the plusses for WTC and the athlete is that this will be one of the first Ironman events ever held where there will be more hotel rooms than athletes which means the athlete can now do an Ironman race that will not include the onerous 4 day minimum hotel stay. Between the boardwalk hotels and the rentals over in Brigantine, housing within 3 miles of transition will not be an issue.
Another unique experience for the athlete will be that check in and the Expo will be held in the spacious and rarely ever seen banquet hall in beautiful and historic Boardwalk Hall.
Mr. Delmonte also had a lot to say in regards to race day production. He admitted there were problems during the 2 Challenge Atlantic City events and said that Ironman Atlantic City would not feel like a Challenge event as he had taken those experiences, learned from them and implemented plans to correct them. He also said that by partnering with Ironman, many of the logistical problems he had conducting Challenge Atlantic City will be addressed and eliminated.
The triathlete will be treated to the complete Ironman experience in Atlantic City. The combination of Ironman’s vast experience at creating world class events and Stephen Delmonte’s relentless pursuit of excellence in leaving no stone unturned will equal an unforgettable experience for the athlete.
As many triathletes know, one of the biggest factors in deciding whether or not to register for a race is the quality (or lack of) in a finisher medal. When asked if Ironman Atlantic City’s finisher medal was going to be some stock medal in the Ironman inventory, Delmonte responded “you know you’re talking to Delmo, right? Of course the finisher medal is going to be banging”. Good enough for me.
As in all good partnerships and business deals, it has to work for both parties. In this case, it will be a time in AC where everyone wins. While the athletes and their families get treated to a first class triathlon experience with Ironman Atlantic City, the city also stands to gain through an anticipated $6.3 million dollar economic impact. For those of us who love Atlantic City, this is a most welcome shot in the arm.
Bringing an Ironman event to Atlantic City will also benefit women’s triathlon in that this will be a “home game” for founding board member of Ironman’s Women4Tri foundation, Moira Easton Horan. In a short interview with Onefortypointsix Media, Moira stated “Any well run race is a benefit and any race is good when it’s “local”. Ironman puts on first class events and the athletes can’t go wrong when they sign up for an IM branded event.” We at Onefortypointsix Media hope that by having Moira at this race being it is in her backyard that her, her JerseyGirls StayStrong team and the Women4Tri foundation all get their time to shine.
As of recently, WTC has certainly had its share of critics of which Onefortypointsix Media has been one. Triathletes had been critical of some of the financial dealings of World Triathlon Corporation and how they translated to the athlete’s race day experience but Mr. Delmonte was quite upbeat in his praise of WTC. He told how the new owners of WTC were at Kona this year and even did the swim out to the coffee boat which is indeed a huge turn from the prior owners.
One of the questions swirling is will this be a “one and done” like IMNYC and IMPrinceton. We at Onefortypointsix Media do not believe so. Neither of those 2 IM events were cancelled due to lack of participation. They suffered from unresolvable logistical issues. Stephen DelMonte has done all of the heavy lifting in creating a course that gets approved every year and he has built a solid relationship with all of the agencies who approve all of the courses Ironman will use on race day. I think Ironman Atlantic City will be around for awhile and knowing Delmo the way I do, don’t be shocked if before long the IM 70.3 Worlds are being held in AC.
So to Stephen Delmonte and Delmo Sports, I say congratulations and job well done. To WTC and Ironman, I say welcome and “meet me tonight in Atlantic City”.
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Posted in Triathlon News