IRONMAN Sold to Advance

New York, NY / Tampa, FL (March 26, 2020) – Advance announced today that it has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement with Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (NASDAQ: WSG) to acquire The IRONMAN Group in an all-cash transaction.  
 
The IRONMAN Group and its portfolio of assets, which includes its flagship IRONMAN® and IRONMAN®70.3® triathlons, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, and the Epic Series® of mountain biking races, among other events, makes up the largest mass participation sports platform in the world. From a single race on O’ahu, Hawai`i in 1978, The IRONMAN Group has owned, organized, promoted, and licensed endurance events for over 40 years, which now consists of more than 235 events in over 50 countries, across triathlon, running, trail running, cycling and mountain biking. Each year over one million international athletes participate in an IRONMAN Group race.
 
Advance is committed to the future of The IRONMAN Group and believes in the long-term strength of its well-recognized brands and the dedication of its athletes, communities, employees and fans. Advance is a private, family-owned business that invests in a broad range of media and technology companies.
 
Orkila Capital (“Orkila”) will co-invest in The IRONMAN Group and Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila, will rejoin its Board of Directors alongside Advance and Andrew Messick, President and CEO of The IRONMAN Group. Orkila is a growth equity firm focused on investments in the media, entertainment and consumer sectors. Du Bey, previously a Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, led that firm’s 2008 investment in The IRONMAN Group.
 
“Today is an important milestone for The IRONMAN Group. We are pleased with this partnership, which is a testament to Advance’s belief in the company,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of The IRONMAN Group. “We remain confident in our future; our focus and objectives are unchanged; and we are ready to face the opportunities and challenges ahead. Together with Advance and Orkila, we will navigate through the turbulent and uncertain period in front of us and continue to deliver the exceptional experiences for which we’re known. I’m also thrilled to welcome Jesse Du Bey back to the Board of Directors of The IRONMAN Group.” Messick continued, “We thank Wanda Sports Group for its support over the past four years and are proud of what we have accomplished together. We look forward to continuing our work in China with Wanda Sports Group in the coming years.”
 
“We are pleased to welcome The IRONMAN Group to the Advance family of companies,” said Janine Shelffo, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Advance. “The core IRONMAN Group values of endurance and perseverance resonate strongly at Advance, a one hundred year-old business that has differentiated itself through long-term focus and commitment.  We are delighted to partner with Andrew and his executive team as they plan to resume exceptional race experiences for their passionate athletes, and to support the long-term growth of the business. We’re also pleased to join forces with Orkila and are grateful for the invaluable experience with The IRONMAN Group that they bring to our partnership.”
 
“I look forward to this new chapter with The IRONMAN Group. Since I last worked with Andrew and his team, the company has experienced significant growth in its global triathlon event footprint and has successfully expanded into new areas such as running, trail running and mountain biking,” said Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila. “I am thrilled that Orkila is partnering with Advance, Andrew and The IRONMAN Group to help build this great family of brands into the future.”

About Advance
Advance is a private, family-owned business that owns, operates and invests in companies spanning media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 15,000 people in 19 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit www.advance.com.

About Orkila
Orkila Capital LLC (“Orkila”) was formed in 2013, by Jesse Du Bey and Taylor Storms, to pursue proprietary and compelling growth equity investment opportunities in the consumer, media and entertainment sectors. Orkila invests in leading companies at the forefront of evolving market opportunities, including Mikkeller, Recognition Media (The Webby Awards), Antares Audio Technologies (Auto-Tune), Omnipollo and Bellator MMA. Additionally, the Principals of Orkila co-founded Crash Line Productions (Boston Calling Music Festival, Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival and others) as well as sourced and helped execute the 2008 purchase of World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN) on behalf of their prior firm. With over 30 years of experience, the Principals of Orkila seek to leverage their deep industry knowledge and relationships to focus on growth platforms with differentiated brands, IP or content. Orkila manages approximately $500 million of capital across three private equity funds and several Special Purpose Vehicles. For more information visit www.orkilacapital.com.

 

PTO and IRONMAN Talks Heating Up, Maybe Not in a Friendly Way?

By Bill Plock

Below is a news release we just received from the Professional Triathletes Organization regarding their attempt to engage with IRONMAN for eventual purchase and/or collaboration. It’s no secret the Wanda Sports Group is hoping to sell its triathlon business (IRONMAN). If you are keeping up with this saga, here is the latest.

From afar, does this in some ways parallel what is happening in the National Football League, but on a much, much smaller scale? The NFL is trying to get the players union to accept a new collective bargaining agreement that is actually valid until 2021. But from all accounts, NFL owners want to leverage a long term players agreement as they approach upcoming, multi-billion dollar television contracts due for negotiation this year. If there is a “shaky”, one year agreement players contract still in place, it is thought the NFL will not be able to maximize television contracts due to a possible strike and loss of games to be televised. Makes sense.

Is this a similar situation? It seems the PTO is basically telling IRONMAN that with a supportive professional triathlete organization, they will have a better product to sell and a stronger brand. So why are there no conversations happening–at least publicly? It will be interesting to see how this moves forward.

LONDON, ENGLAND–: The Professional Triathletes Organisation today released the following letter sent to the Board of Directors of Wanda Sports Group Company Limited on 3rd March 2020 advising the Board that in its view the value of the Ironman® Business in any possible sale would be adversely affected by its failure to engage in constructive discussions with the PTO.

Board of Directors, Wanda Sports Group Company Limited, Wanda Plaza, Tower B, 9th Floor, 93 Jianguo Road Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, Attn: Mr. Yimin Gao–CEO

Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer, World Triathlon Corporation, 3407 W. Martin Luther King Blvd, Suite 100, Tampa, Florida 33607

Dear Members of the Board:

We are writing on behalf of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (the “PTO”) and note with interest your public announcement that the Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (“WSG”) is in preliminary discussions concerning the possible sale of its worldwide triathlon and mass participation business (the “WTC Business”). We further note that the WSG Board has yet to respond to our letter dated 3rd of February 2020, in which we advised the Board that the PTO is prepared to enter into discussions regarding the acquisition of the WTC Business and to consider an all-cash transaction or one in which the existing shareholders of WSG are able to participate in the growth of the WTC Business that the PTO and its professionals are uniquely able to deliver. In our letter we also advised the WSG Board that we are prepared to work with other groups who may be interested in acquiring the WTC Business.

We strongly believe that our involvement in the sale process will enable the WSG shareholders to maximise the value of any sale of the WTC Business, and failure to allow the PTO the opportunity to be part of any sale process will adversely affect the WSG shareholders. We believe that this proposal represents a unique opportunity to realise significant value for WSG shareholders and the employees of WTC, and that the PTO can uniquely provide a healthy and growing environment for the WTC Business. The PTO and North Point Advisors, our financial advisors, are prepared to begin discussions forthwith with your senior management and your financial advisors and to sign a customary confidentiality agreement in order to commence certain due diligence.

We hope that you share our enthusiasm and that the WSG Board, in the exercise of its fiduciary duties, delivers a prompt and favourable reply to us. As the WSG Board has failed to respond to our previous good faith approach, we will publicly release a copy of this letter. We would urge you to convey to any potential bidders with whom you may be in discussions our view that the cooperation of the PTO in the operations of the WTC Business is vital to its valuation and its ongoing and future success and, further, in our view, the continued failure of the WSG Board or any potential bidder with whom you may be in discussions to engage with the PTO in a constructive and cooperative manner may have an adverse effect on the WTC Business and the WSG shareholders. We would accordingly request that if there are any restrictions in any Non-Disclosure Agreements prohibiting potential bidders from engaging in discussions with the PTO, that they be waived so that WSG shareholders are able to maximise the sale price of the WTC Business.

Respectfully yours,

Charles Adamo –– Chairman

Sam Renouf –– Chief Executive Officer

Rachel Joyce –– Athlete Director

Dylan McNeice –– Athlete Director

PTO Taking Another Run at Purchasing IRONMAN

LONDON, ENGLAND–BOULDER, USA; 4th February 2020: The Professional Triathletes Organisation today released the following letter sent to the Board of Directors of Wanda Sports Group Company Limited on 3rd February 2020 advising the Board that the PTO has closed on its financial partnership with Crankstart Investments and renewing the PTO’s proposal to enter into discussions to acquire the IRONMAN® business.

Dear Members of the Board:

We are writing on behalf of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (the “PTO”) to advise you that we have closed on our partnership financing with Crankstart Investments. We again want to put forth our proposal to enter into discussions for the acquisition by the PTO of all of the assets of the Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (“WSG”) related to its worldwide triathlon and mass participation business (the “WTC Business”).

The PTO is prepared to consider an all-cash transaction or one in which the existing shareholders of WSG are able to participate in the growth of the WTC Business that the PTO is uniquely positioned to deliver. We strongly believe that it is only with the assistance of the PTO and its professional athletes that the WTC Business has the ability to stabilise and grow, and that without our cooperation the WTC Business would deteriorate. We are happy to work with any other financially stable group who may be interested in acquiring the WTC Business, reducing its debt load and unleashing the value only the PTO and its professional athletes can deliver.

The PTO and North Point Advisors, our financial advisors, are prepared to begin discussions forthwith with your senior management and your financial advisors and to sign a customary confidentiality agreement in order to commence certain confirmatory due diligence. In light of the significance of this proposal to your shareholders and the triathlon community, as well as the potential for selective disclosures, we will publicly release the text of this letter tomorrow morning.

We believe this proposal represents a unique opportunity to realise significant value for WSG shareholders and employees, and that the PTO can uniquely provide a healthy and growing environment for the WTC Business.

We hope that you and your Board share our enthusiasm and, consistent with applicable fiduciary duties, we look forward to a prompt and favourable reply.

Respectfully yours,

Charles D. Adamo––Chairman

Sam Renouf––Chief Executive Officer

Rachel Joyce––Co-President

Tim O’Donnell––Co-President

Opinion: What is happening to the IRONMAN World Championship?

By Khem Suthiwan

IRONMAN announced in early June the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship would feature a new swim start protocol utilizing waves that separates the field into 11 groups. Their reason: to reduce athlete density on the bike course.

As a four-time IRONMAN finisher, to include Kona, I’m not sure what I think about this. Three of my IM finishes were mass starts. The year I raced Kona it was the first time the men and women age groupers had separate mass starts. When I trained for my first one (IRONMAN Canada-Penticton), the allure of the mass start and its spectacle was one of the things that drew me to the race. Now one by one, primarily in North America, races have implemented rolling swim starts and the mass start is about close to extinct.

Khem at the
2015 IRONMAN World Championship Swim Start

While I understand the need to improve the safety for competitors, especially at races that typically draw novice athletes and take place in urban areas (nevermind when you sign up for an IRONMAN you should know what you’re getting yourself into), but at the IRONMAN World Championship? By the time most athletes get to the start line in Kona, they will have raced and trained thousands of hours and miles. Is there really a need? And the reason of reducing athlete density on the bike course, the Queen K Highway is completely closed off to vehicular traffic AND it’s up to the athletes to follow the rules of the bike course (no drafting, blocking, etc.).

So, my question to the universe and all the triathletes that care, is Kona slowly losing its luster? The midnight finish isn’t really midnight in most cases. What’s next? Splitting the women’s and men’s race to two separate days? Rolling swim starts? Who knows, but whatever new protocol that ends up getting implemented next, in my opinion will most likely chip away pieces of the original Kona IRONMAN spirit and excitement.

PTO Announces Intent to Buy IRONMAN

From the staff of 220Triathlon.com

The Professional Triathlon Organisation (PTO) have announced that they have approached WANDA with the intent to acquire Ironman and its assets. We spoke to Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, to find out more about the decision and what it means for triathlon

Why has the PTO made the decision to try and buy Ironman?

Ever since Providence Capital Partners first saddled WTC with $200 million debt and prepared for their exit sale, the business has been starved of investment. When WSG acquired WTC it burdened the operation with additional debt, thus restricting any ability of the dedicated management to invest and promote the business.

Our goal in acquiring the Ironman assets is to free it from this excessive debt burden and we are in discussions with partners where a healthy portion of equity is injected into the business to reduce interest payments and increase investment in things like promotion, production, race standards and prize money, and maybe even a health insurance programme for professionals.  

You must admit something is wrong when athletes like Matt Russell and Tim Don are reduced to GoFundMe pages and charitable sponsor donations to pay medical bills after bike accidents at a World Championship Event. It is actually heartbreaking to see, and to be honest, we are a bit surprised the community is not more upset by this.  

How confident are you this will happen – has there been any signs from Wanda that they’re open to this?

While we have not had any overt signs from Wanda before our letter, our bankers, North Point Advisors, have analysed the WSG Financial Statements and the performance of the IPO, and have advised that this an opportune time to start discussions.Since we have now sent our letter and released it publicly, we will not be permitted to comment on any ongoing discussions. 

Read the rest HERE

Ironman 70.3 Delivers Winners–and a Marriage!

By Bill Plock

After 70.3 miles of racing, less than 75 yards separated 1st from 2nd place in the men’s pro race.

At the awards ceremony, men’s winner Chris Leiferman thanked fellow competitor Tyler Butterfield for pushing him–Leiferman won by eight seconds! Leiferman knew Butterfield was close behind when the crowds errupted behind him as Butterfield was closing the gap. But Leiferman prevailed to take first place with a time of 3:44:32. The rest of the field included Kennett Peterson, 3rd, Andy Potts, 4th, Josh Armberger (Aus) 5th and Ben Hoffman 6th. Only Jos Armberger doesn’t reside in Colorado, quite the day for the Coloradans!

The women’s race was won by Skye Moench with a time of 4:09. She came off a recent victory in the full in Frankfurt Germany and Boulder was her first 70.3 win. In second place was Boulder’s Lesley Smith, followed by Meredith Kessler(USA) , Luiza Cravo (Brazil), Romina Palacio (Argentina) and Rachel Olson (USA).

Of the 2,200 amateurs who started the race, Matt McWilliams was the fastest male with a 3:58 time and Alina Henschke Busch for women at 4:28. As temperatures soared into high 90’s the last athletes came in around 4:30

In a fun side story, the Miami Tri Club brought 50 athletes to race, but more importantly to be witnesses to the club manager, Andy Clark marrying Stephanie Reinhold at the finish line after all the athletes were in–and having raced themselves. Andy’s sister in-law, Nicole Clark works for IRONMAN in Louisville. She and her husband, Nick (Andy’s twin brother) raced as well. It’s all one big happy family in the Triathlon World!! Congrats to the Clark family!

All the results of yesterdays race can be found HERE

Simon Butterworth’s Tale from IM Cork—Grab a Guinness, Great Read

Many of you probably know Simon Butterworth of Louisville, Colorado. He has competed at the IRONMAN World Championships 14 times having won his age group two years ago. He competes in local races constantly and there aren’t many people on the planet who have raced more triathlons. He is from Ireland and recently competed at Cork and you will enjoy reading about his voyage “home” to race in one of the hardest and most weather challenged races he has ever done. An epic day filled with amazing people he encountered. Check out his journey!

By Simon Butterworth

I knew Irish weather could throw us a curve when I signed up last year, but I had no choice.  How could a immigrant from Ireland pass up the first ever IM just 45 miles from their hometown Tramore, impossible.  My enthusiasm for the race will be clear if you read my Blog.  It is after all the Irish who are your hosts and there are non-better at that.  It helped a lot that I managed to finish but it was a real case of “but for the grace of God” that I did.  Two of my fellow old geezers got a flat which finished the race for them.  Try fixing a flat when you are almost hypothermic, motion is essential to not going there.  

I sincerely hope that our day does not deter other Irish Americans (and any one who becomes Irish on St Patricks Day) from going “home” to race.  But do it with eyes wide open.  Preparation for the possible conditions is key.  Sort out an appropriate kit for the worst (and hope for the best like the day before and after), especially for the bike.  I got the best kit possible (my opinion after the race) from Rapha then hoped that I would not have to use it.  It made the finish possible.  I should note that you can do that race in those conditions in bike shorts and short sleeve top, but you probably need to be Irish, from somewhere in the UK or a similar climate.  

All IronMan races are hard it’s just that some take longer than others.  That is a key consideration when picking a race and you are not blazing fast but if you can go the distance within the cutoff times you just need to plan for a longer day.  You need more fluids and food and you also have to adjust your power or HR limits.  You can research what to do on your own but a coach in this case makes matters much easier.  

You will also hear the roads were rough.  Any of us who have done Escape from Alcatraz know that they were not the worst roads in Triathlon by far.  Last year I watched the pro men going airborne over the ruts and potholes on the last downhill to T2 as I was going up.  There were a lot of bumpy roads but again preparation, lower tire pressure and the right bike helps.  I rode on a Dimond, a beam bike that handles rough roads well.  A good road bike that is stiff laterally but compliant vertically would be better than an all-around stiff tri bike.   Gearing is key, I could have used a 32 cog on the rear but managed fine with a 34/28, except for Windmill.  

Speaking of gearing big shout out to Niall McCarthy and Michelle Nagle, both finished 5th in their first IM, Niall did it stuck in the big chain ring for the second loop, ouch.  I met both of them Tuesday before the race (a nice sunny one).  Also shout out to my friends John Kelly, Chanc Wood (both from my Colorado town Lafayette) and Katie O’Brian (from neighboring Boulder).  John made a brave go of it with an injured shoulder but was forced to concede to the conditions.  Katie crashed but continued on learning that she had fractured her collar bone when she finished, tough.  Chanc finished, the prime objective, not sure how his day went.  

I can’t say enough about the people of Youghal and the surrounding towns, villages and farms who came out to support us either as volunteers or in the cheering section.  Big thank you to the club in the middle of Youghal giving us the motivation to press on with some very loud chants.  Seeing the same people all around the course on lap two of the bike in the rain meant that if they could do that so could we.  I have not seen anything like that in over 150 triathlons and 26 IM races.  Only Challenge Roth is the same, and they have the advantage of a much larger population surrounding the course, and sunny skies last year.  

If I was bummed out it was not seeing more happy faces outside the pubs on the course, temptation to stay warm was strong.  Imagine the crowd on the lawn of the Beer Garden at the start of the bike on a day like Monday.  

Anyone with ideas of heading to Ireland next year give me a call or message.  I would be happy to help with the decision making.  Hope you enjoy the story of my two weeks in Ireland and race day on my blog

VEGA JOINS IRONMAN `OHANA AS TITLE SPONSOR OF THE 2019 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

TAMPA, Fla. (June 13, 2019) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Group company, is excited to announce a new partnership with plant-based nutrition brand, Vega, as the title sponsor of the 2019 IRONMAN® World Championship, the most iconic one-day endurance event in the world. As the leader in premium plant-based sport nutrition, Vega joins the IRONMAN `Ohana as the Official Recovery Nutrition partner of the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship in addition to title sponsor.

The IRONMAN World Championship is the pinnacle of endurance racing with over 95,000 athletes competing to qualify at more than 40 global IRONMAN® events each year. Athletes who qualify for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will be entitled to a special offer on Vega® products. Additionally, Vega products will be available in the IRONMAN Village, on-course and in the athlete recovery zone at the Vega IRONMAN World Championship on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

“We are coming off a historic year in Kona that celebrated 40 years of racing in Hawai`i with our largest international field, record-smashing times and unparalleled live coverage. The level of competition rises every year and our IRONMAN athletes are always looking for the best performance nutrition to help them reach top performance. The collaboration with Vega for the IRONMAN World Championship is a perfect fit, bringing a partner dedicated to high performance nutrition that won’t compromise quality,” said Matthieu Van Veen, Chief Revenue Officer for The IRONMAN Group. “Co-founded by a professional triathlete, Vega offers a vast range of products that focus on meeting the high standards that top triathletes from around the world expect with everything they do to prepare and compete. We are glad to welcome Vega to our `Ohana.”

Vega has been a pioneer in the plant-based nutrition industry since 2001. Vega co-founder Brendan Brazier knew that dialing in his nutrition was the competitive advantage he needed as a professional triathlete. Through trial, error, and experimentation, Brazier developed new products that helped him recover between training sessions better than any supplement he’d tried. Today, Vega has grown to include specialized sport nutrition, providing fueling options for before, during and after workouts or competition.

“We know that nutrition is the key to unlocking athletic excellence and what better way to demonstrate the power of plant-based sport nutrition than at Kona – the pinnacle of endurance sport,” says Samantha Taylor, VP of Marketing, Vega. “While this is a new partnership for us, the synergies between IRONMAN and Vega date back many years when co-founder Brendan Brazier launched Vega at the height of his pro triathlete career. Brendan’s vision for creating a product that enables athletes to feel and perform their best continues to be our driving inspiration today, as more than ever, athletes are looking for a competitive edge in their sport through plant-based nutrition.  Recently having achieved NSF Certified for Sport® for our Vega Sport® line we continue to innovate and enhance our formulation to support athlete needs. We’re honored to be a part of IRONMAN’s `Ohana and we’re looking forward to bringing our premium plant-based sport nutrition to those attending this iconic race.”

Two core products in the Vega Sport® line include Premium Protein and Recovery, both of which have no artificial flavors or sweeteners and are NSF Certified for Sport®, Gluten-Free, Vegan Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.

  • Vega Sport® Premium Protein is formulated to help rebuild muscle after a tough workout and is packed with 30 grams of plant-based protein, BCAAs, 2 billion CFU of probiotics (bacillus coagulans), and tart cherry to support recovery.
  • Vega Sport® Recovery is formulated to help replenish glycogen stores so that athletes can stay ready for whatever comes next and includes 16 grams of carbohydrates, electrolytes and B vitamins.

The 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship will enjoy 20 hours of comprehensive live race day coverage globally via IRONMAN NOW™ on Facebook Watch – www.facebookwatch.com/IRONMANnow and through regional television coverage, including NBC Sports in the United States. Last year’s IRONMAN World Championship live coverage included everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish-line celebration and saw nearly 20 million total views on Facebook Watch.

Event information for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship can be found at www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship.aspx. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. For more details aboutVega and their full product offering, visit www.myvega.com. Media-related inquiries should be directed to press@ironman.com and media@myvega.com.  

Read the full article here


Tulsa awarded new IRONMAN

By Bill Plock

Five days after it was announced IRONMAN Boulder was discontinued, Tulsa was awarded a full distance IRONMAN for 2020. In the latest of IRONMAN gauging a growing trend where athletes are in search of new experiences in new places, Tulsa beat out Des Moines, Fayetteville, and Memphis.

The competition will start at Keystone Lake for the swim, then transition to cycling, which will include a roundtrip to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater followed by the marathon in Tulsa at the RiverParks trails and finish in downtown.

Tulsa’s bid for the event was facilitated by VisitTulsa, the city’s convention and visitors bureau housed at the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

Existing IRONMAN communities have measured as much as $13 million in economic impact from the triathlon, with hotel room bookings of 12,000 for athletes and fans

Tulsa was one of four finalists for the endurance triathlon in 2020. Other finalists were Des Moines, Iowa; Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on the departure of Boulder and this growing trend of new IRONMANS in new locations.

2019 will be the last IRONMAN Boulder

By Bill Plock

The champion of Sunday’s race will be the last champion for the foreseeable future of a full-distance IRONMAN race in Boulder. For us at 303 Endurance Network, parent of 303Triathlon, it’s been an amazing 6 years of covering and racing this race.

The first race director of IRONMAN Boulder, Dave Christen shared his thoughts saying, “IRONMAN Boulder has been such a great event because of the people who raced it and those amazing volunteers who put the race on. Between Dan, Tim, and myself as the different Race Directors of the event for the 6 years, we all agree we have only played a very small role. The City of Boulder, Boulder County, and Colorado State Patrol, all hosted a world class event in a world class city. We are excited about the changes in the IRONMAN calendar as we are seeing athletes gravitating towards new experiences and new host communities. Boulder will always be in the IRONMAN calendar in some form and we are are proud of the athletes who raced one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the series. I personally want to say thank you to everyone who played a role in the event and for those that provided such honest and constructive feedback over the years. I wanted it to be a race dictated by the athletes and I can say we did that. Congratulations to everyone who has and will conqour this race! “

Sunday’s race should be iconic with three former champions racing the men’s and women’s pro field and Boulder native pros Sam Long, Colin Laughery and Danielle Mack competing.

For us at 303Triathlon, this race has been our “Super Bowl” and covering it with the iconic Boulder creek path “flux capacitor” run course, the downtown finish line, and the amazing support of so many local triathletes made the atmosphere simply electric.

No doubt the race had declined in popularity and there are many possible reasons for that. When you look at the national landscape and see the decline in participation in some long standing races and the increase in participation in new venues, it seems to support how athletes do like different choices. Some races will be returning to their origins such as St. George and Penticton. So who knows, maybe a return to Boulder is possible someday.

A few of our favorite stories from over the years: