Putting truth to the rumors that Challenge Atlantic City would be no longer for 2016, Ironman announced today that it will take over the race for a new 70.3 on Sept. 18, 2016. Race organizers DelMoSports, headed up by 13-year race director and CEO Stephen Del Monte, will remain in place to put on the event.
The Atlantic City race was the first of the Challenge Family’s events in the United States, with the inaugural race—which featured a half and full-iron distance as well as relays—held in 2014. This year’s race only saw about 1000 registrants. Del Monte says the split with Challenge was mutual, which gave him an opportunity to work with Ironman, so he took it. “I think your typical person walking down the street knows what an Ironman is,” Del Monte says of his decision. “We’re not only going to get people from around the country, but people who never thought this would be possible here, to get back up off the couch and that’s exciting. We’re already an extremely active community and this will take it to another level.”
“Ironman has been professional in every way and I’m super excited for the community,” he says. “The mid-Atlantic region is a mega hotbed of triathlon and I’m excited for people that live here, like myself, that we’ll have our own 70.3.”
Del Monte emphasized that he and his team will still be strongly involved. The New Jersey native has had success taking small, local event Tri the Wildwoods Triathlon from 200 people to 1600, and his June Escape the Cape Triathlon—where competitors jump off a ferry, à la Escape From Alcatraz—sells out. “I believe world class attracts world class,” he says. “You work hard, you put everything into it. Ironman is the big leagues.”
What will be different for 2016:
– There will only be a 70.3 distance
– It is now September 18, as opposed to June
– 40 slots will be available for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tenn., for 2017. It will be one of the first races where athletes can qualify.
– The event will allow for 50 relay teams
– There will be no professional prize purse for at least year one, but Del Monte says they will address it for 2017. “We want to first cater to the needs of the age grouper and make sure we’ve done everything we say we’re going to do, and after that we’re absolutely interested in doing a prize purse in the future.”
– The official charity partner will be the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), who will send a team of 100 athletes to the event through their “Team for Cures” fundraising program
– 1.2-mile sheltered swim in the back bay of Atlantic City
– 56-mile single-loop fast, flat bike through state forests, vineyards, and a portion of the smooth Atlantic City Expressway (without traffic)
– 13.1-mile run on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk
General registration for Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City will open November 2, 2015, at Ironman.com/atlanticcity70.3.