For anyone who has raced, volunteered, or spectated at the IRONMAN World Championship, you know that being there is quite the experience. From the Kona Underpants Run and Dig Me swim out to the coffee boat, there are a handful of Kona traditions.
One of the long-standing traditions is the Parade of Nations.
Much like the one from the Olympics, athletes from all over the world band together in solidarity representing their countries. Some show organized efforts with clever t-shirts and themed costumes. Year after year, the countries with large and proud turnouts include Great Britain, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
So the question is, why did the United States with 751 athletes (largest of all countries) only had 40 show up to the Parade of Nations this year? Did 711 athletes think it was “too cool for school” to be part of this iconic Kona tradition?
Known throughout the Southeastern U.S. as the Scenic City due to its proximity to Lookout Mountain, striking riverfront and vibrant downtown, Chattanooga lures athletes with its dramatic backdrop, idyllic weather and low-key southern charm. Already host to annual IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events, Chattanooga provides a fast course with a swim in the Tennessee River. Four bridges cross the river over the swim and a pedestrian Riverwalk runs along the entire swim course making it ideal for spectators. Chattanooga is full of attractions, eclectic dining spots and great places to stay.
“We are extremely excited that our community was chosen to host the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Championship,” said Bob Doak, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Chattanooga is one of six cities in the country to host both an IRONMAN and an IRONMAN 70.3; Chattanooga is 1 of 10 cities in the world to host both an IRONMAN and an IRONMAN 70.3; and Chattanooga is the ONLY city on the planet to host an IRONMAN, an IRONMAN 70.3 and two days of IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship racing. That’s impressive. We would not have been able to do this without the existing strong partnership with IRONMAN and the dedication and support of the entire community.”