TAMPA – The rights to own and operate the Gulf Coast Triathlon have been acquired by IRONMAN.
Renamed the IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast triathlon, the event will keep its historic roots and take place on Saturday, May 13, 2017, joining the iconic IRONMAN Florida triathlon on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in Panama City Beach.
“Panama City Beach has been a home to IRONMAN for 18 years, and each year it is an unforgettable experience for athletes from around the world,” said Jeff Edwards, Vice President of Operations for IRONMAN. “We are pleased to add such a well-regarded event in a location that we are very familiar with to our spring calendar, as we continue to offer athletes an opportunity to race in a beachside setting with a welcoming community.”
“The Gulf Coast Triathlon Foundation Board of Directors would like to thank all the people and organizations who have supported the Gulf Coast Triathlon for the last 34 years. Their involvement has allowed to us to put on a stellar long-course triathlon all these years and give back to the community where we live and operate,” said Dave Garret, Gulf Coast Triathlon Foundation Chairman. “To ensure the continued presence of our triathlon, the Board felt the time was right to bring in an organization with the larger resources needed to operate in the competitive sports world that exists today. Our hope is that the people and organizations that supported us will now put their efforts in the new IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast triathlon event. We look forward to seeing the continued benefits of this event for many years to come.”
The race will begin with a 1.2-mile, open water swim in the Gulf of Mexico, along white sand shores. Competitors then bike 56 miles on an out-and-back course which travels through the rural areas of Bay County and Panama City Beach.
Much like IRONMAN Florida, it is flat and fast for athletes looking to obtain a personal best. The 13.1-mile run will feature some of the most picturesque beach front areas that distinguish the area, with a spectacular finish at the Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort.
With 27 miles of white sand beach, Panama City Beach proves to be a great destination for athletes and families alike, with multiple state and beachfront city parks, nearly 100 public beach access points, and an untouched seven-mile long barrier island.
“Panama City Beach looks forward to welcoming competitors from around the globe to compete in the IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast triathlon,” says Richard Sanders, VP of Sports and Events for Visit Panama City Beach. “Having IRONMAN united with an event and a course known for beautiful beaches, personal records, and good weather, is a perfect opportunity for athletes and their families to have a real fun race.”
IRONMAN 70.3 Gulf Coast will offer 50 slots to the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place on September 9 and 10, 2017 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.