DES MOINES, Iowa — Few things compare to hearing your name as you cross an Ironman finish line, except perhaps, hosting an Ironman race.
“This is huge,” says Trina Flack, Vice President of Des Moines Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “This would be a game changing event for our community.”
The CVB estimates an Ironman race would generate $10 million for the area’s economy.
“That’s them staying in our hotels rooms, eating at our restaurants, shopping at our stores and spending time and money in our community.”
Ironman representatives picked the final four potential host cities – Des Moines, Fayettville, Memphis and Tulsa – after scouting more than a dozen communities.
“I had a fantastic visit to Des Moines,” says Beth Atnip, Ironman’s Vice President of Global Operations. “I spent the day with the team there and got to see various venue options and look at the different lakes and potential bike courses and the downtown area. So, a fantastic trip with the team and really excited Des Moines is part of this process.”
The 2.4-mile swim would likely take place at Gray’s Lake in Des Moines. From there, an estimated 3,000 competitors would bike 112-miles through Polk, Madison and possibly Dallas counties. The 26.2-mile run would wind through Des Moines with the finish along Court Avenue or Western Gateway Park.
“It would draw people from all over the world,” says Flack, who likens the Ironman race to hosting the NCAA men’s basketball tournament – only better.
“More people stay for longer periods of time. So, It would have a bigger impact than the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.”
If Des Moines is chosen, it will host the Ironman competition at least three years, beginning in 2020.
“This isn’t just a one time event,” says Flack. “We will sign a three-year agreement with them but they would not look to leave our city after three years. They would be here for years and years to come.”
Ironman will announce the new host city in mid-June.