On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 11, The World Triathlon Corporation confirmed that Whistler has been selected to host Ironman Canada on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, as well as races next four years.
Whistler was shortlisted to host the event at the start of the month, along with the City of Kelowna and the Muskoka region in Ontario. Registration for the Whistler event will open at www.ironman.ca on Oct. 18.
“Whistler is recognized worldwide as a sought-after travel and outdoor recreation destination. As the new host community of Ironman Canada, Whistler will immediately earn a reputation as a triathlon destination,” said Steve Meckfessel, Managing Director of Global Race Operations for WTC. “With its accessibility to major west coast markets, stunning beauty and tourism infrastructure, Whistler will resonate with our athletes, their families and fans of Ironman.”
The race will start off with a two-loop, 3.8km course on Alta Lake, with a mass start leaving from the beach area at Rainbow Park. From there, riders will follow a 180km bike course that will head south to the Callaghan Valley, up to Whistler Olympic Park and back to the highway before turning north for an out-and-back course to Pemberton. The run course, 42.2km, will follow two loops of a course that heads out to Green Lake and back, finishing at Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Barrett Fisher, president and CEO of Tourism Whistler, thanked all the partners in the bid, including the Resort Municipality of Whistler. "This was a team effort, where Tourism Whistler took the lead in submitting the bid and in the negotiations and presenting the bid, and in turn the municipality has certainly stepped up, mayor and council and the team from the municipality, in supporting it through RMI funds.
"All of our resort partners supported the bid as well, with the hotel community unanimously supporting it as well as the business community that will benefit from the estimated 15,000-plus room nights the event will generate. We had the support of Pemberton, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, CN Rail, the Ministry of Transportation. There are lots of things still to be confirmed, but we're exceptionally excited that Whistler was chosen."
The Aug. 25 date is the same as Challenge Penticton, the triathlon event that replaced Ironman Canada. This past year there were 3,000 athletes signed up for Ironman Canada, and just under 2,700 at the start line. It's unknown whether the two events will split the long-distance triathlon community down the middle, but plans are being made to host future Ironman Canada events — 2014, 2014, 2016 and 2017 — at the end of July to avoid conflict.
Whistler's contribution to the bid includes the use of facilities and services through the event, as well as a $100,000 fee that is being paid for from provincial Resort Municipality Initiative funds.