Ironman representative Steve Meckfessel told members of the Chattanooga Rotary Club.on Thursday that for Chattanooga to be selected to be the 11th American city to host the Ironman Triathlon "speaks volumes about the city."
The Ironman race covers 146 miles of water and roadways.
Registration for the Sept. 28, 2014, event opened four months ago and sold out within minutes.
Mr. Meckfessel said, “Ironman does not reward a city with a bid just because you're the highest bidder.”
He said one of the reasons that Chattanooga stood out to the selection committee was the outdoor culture of the city. He said every time he visited, people were walking and running outside no matter what day of the week. He said, “It really struck me that this is really an outdoor city.”
He said hosting the event will be a great economic benefit to the area; the projected impact is $40 million over the next five years. Also, the race will bring visitors from all over the world. Out of the athletes registered, 47 states and 25 countries are represented.
The race started in Hawaii in 1978 and has since progressed to 108 events worldwide and over 200,000 participating athletes. The Chattanooga race alone will have over 2,500 participants. Mr. Meckfessel said the quick sellout was “unheard of.”
The race has three parts: swimming, running, and biking. The water portion will start 2.4 miles up the Tennessee River near the old Quaker Oats factory and end at Ross’s landing. The 112-mile bike trek will start downtown and loop into North Georgia. Finally, the marathon run will take place downtown, going across the UTC campus and the Walnut Street Bridge into the Northshore area.
From the athletes who compete, the 50 with the best times will be able to move on to the Ironman World Championship.
Mr. Meckfessel said that even though the race registration is closed, people who still want to be involved can work as volunteers or sponsors.