As the nation continues to grapple with the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael, officials announced Wednesday that Ironman Florida scheduled for Nov. 3 will have a change of venue and date.
The annual full-distance Ironman was scheduled in Panama City Beach, located on the state’s Gulf Coast, just 35 miles north of Mexico Beach, which is one of the areas hardest hit by Michael. Due to ongoing public safety issues and recovery efforts, Ironman and its local partners concluded it was not feasible to host the race there. Instead, the event will now take place Nov. 4 in Haines City. Located inland, between Tampa and Orlando, Haines City also hosts the Ironman 70.3 Florida.
“A venue change so soon before a race is significant for all involved; however, given the circumstances, this is the best option for athletes to compete in an Ironman event in the same region and on the same weekend as originally scheduled,” according to an Ironman statement.
The race will follow the Ironman 70.3 Florida course with certain modifications necessary to hold a full-distance Ironman. Course details, accommodation options, and general information on the race will be provided in the coming days on Ironman’s Facebook page, according to the statement.
Athletes who have already registered for Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach will be automatically registered for Ironman Florida in Haines City. “No action is required,” according to Ironman officials.
“Our hearts go out to all who were impacted by Hurricane Michael,” says Haines City Mayor Morris West. As of Wednesday, at least 27 U.S. deaths have been blamed on Hurricane Michael, and that number is expected to dramatically rise as crews continue their search for the missing. Many communities in Florida’s Bay County have been nearly destroyed by the storm that made landfall in the state on Oct. 10. The cost to rebuild is expected to be in the billions.
The Ironman Foundation has launched a humanitarian relief effort campaign in response to Hurricane Michael and has pledged $50,000 to support local recovery efforts. Those interested in helping and/or making a donation can visit Ironmanfoundation.org/relief.
Athletes with questions about the upcoming race can reach out to email@example.com.