One of the leading sports brands in the world has landed in the Port City as Ironman announced Thursday the acquisition of multiple events from the YMCA of Wilmington.
Ironman will now own and operate the events previously known as PPD Beach2Battleship Full Distance Triathlon and the PPD Beach2Battleship Half Distance Triathlon.
Rebranded as PPD Ironman® North Carolina presented by New Hanover Regional Medical Center and PPD Ironman® 70.3® North Carolina presented by New Hanover Regional Medical Center, these two newest Ironman events will both take place on Saturday, October 22, 2016.
“PPD Beach2Battleship has been an incredibly successful independent event since its inaugural race in 2008,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Office of Ironman. “Recognized as one of the Top Long Distance Triathlons by Triathlete Magazine in 2010, we feel privileged to have the PPD Beach2Battleship team and events join the Ironman family. The acquisition of these races furthers our commitment to the southeastern United States and we look forward to growing these two great events.”
With over 180 events in 20 countries each year, Ironman brings worldwide fame to the City of Wilmington and the 2016 Ironman North Carolina will offer 30 qualifying slots for the 2017 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Registration for the races will open on Friday, Dec. 18. Ironman will also offer the New Hanover Regional Medical Center IronKids event during race week.
“When the idea was conceived in 2007, our hope was to create an event which would attract triathletes from around the country,” said Dick Jones, CEO of the Wilmington Family YMCA and co-founder of the PPD Beach2Battelship event. “And we have been able to do so – thanks to the communities of Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington and Setup Events Race Production. The results have been an amazing win for our community and the YMCA.”
The PPD Ironman North Carolina features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run through coastal and southeastern North Carolina. It is a unique “point-to-point-to-point-to-point” event, with each leg finishing in a different location. The swim starts at the southern tip of beautiful Wrightsville Beach and takes place in a channel connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Always on an incoming tide, the current makes for consistently fast swim times. The bike course then takes competitors from Wrightsville Beach through the outskirts of Wilmington and three surrounding counties before returning to Historic Downtown Wilmington to the second transition area.
The two-loop run is an out-and-back, flat and fast run course starting in historic Wilmington and leads athletes around picturesque Greenfield Lake. The race finishes in downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River just across from the historic USS North Carolina Battleship.
“This event so warmly embraced by the community has helped us fund programs and services each year to hundreds of families and children with needs throughout the greater Wilmington area,” Jones added. “I would like to thank PPD and the New Hanover Regional Medical Center for their continued partnership and support of the races. Our decision to team with Ironman will enable even more athletes to experience these two great events and our wonderful community, while continuing to give back to our local communities.”
The PPD Ironman 70.3 North Carolina presented by New Hanover Regional Medical Center triathlon uses much of the same course as its bigger sibling and will feature a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. It will also be a qualifying event with 50 age-group slots for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This point-to-point-to-point-to-point event begins in Wrightsville Beach and takes athletes along the same fast channel swim. Cycling through the coastal countryside outside Wilmington and running around Greenfield Lake, athletes finish in historic downtown Wilmington across from the USS North Carolina Battleship.
“We are proud of the strong partnership we’ve built with the Wilmington Family YMCA as title sponsor of this acclaimed triathlon,” said David Simmons, chairman and CEO of PPD. “We anticipate the race only growing in stature with Ironman’s leadership. For our employees, PPD Ironman North Carolina is sure to provide a thrilling race-day experience. And for our company and the PPD Heroes – athletes who have overcome life-threatening illnesses with medicines developed in clinical research – the event will continue providing an outstanding opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of increasing participation in clinical trials.”
With this acquisition, New Hanover Regional Medical Center will continue as the official and exclusive medical services provider and will become the presenting sponsor of both events – PPD Ironman North Carolina presented by New Hanover Regional Medical Center and PPD Ironman 70.3 North Carolina presented by New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Additionally, NHRMC will become the inaugural title sponsor of the IronKids North Carolina Fun Run.
“We are committed to the health and well-being of all the residents in this region and to those visiting Wilmington for these events,” said Jack Barto, president and CEO of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “We are proud to sponsor IronKids, as this event underscores the importance of engaging children in active lifestyles. Our emergency responders will be poised to deliver high-quality medical care for the Ironman and IronKids events.”