70.3 WC: Viva Las Vegas
Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Thu Oct 07 2010
The event's placement on the calendar is changing as well. The Ironman 70.3 World Championship will take place on September 11, 2011, 4 weeks prior to the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona. It is anticipated these twin world championships will remain 4 weeks apart to allow Kona's competitors—especially top professionals—to conveniently contest both events. "We'll inspect that after 2011," said WTC's Steve Meckfessel, "but yeah, I think if you look at race results in recent years, most if not all the pros are doing a late season 70.3 as a tune-up [for the Hawaiian Ironman]."
The venue change is good news to many who criticized the Clearwater course as not sufficiently challenging for the strength-of-field assembled at a world championship. Clearwater's pancake flat bike course almost guaranteed that the bulk of professional racers would not separate during the bike leg, and that many age group championship racers would soft pedal while ensconced in packs. The challenging courses Lowery has chosen for his Silverman events—Silverman will remain on the race calendar in 2011 and thereafter—will be welcome to bike enthusiasts and championship fans.
Lowery will be a busy man in 2011, and the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort will host more Spandex than an Elvis impersonator convention. First up, on September 11th, 2011, is the new Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
Four weeks later, on October 2, Lake Las Vegas will host a 1.5k/40k/10k event on the 5150 calendar. That race will also be produced by Lowery.
But Lowery's organization cannot take a breather quite yet. The ITU Long Course World Championship is slated to take place just a month later, on November 5, 2011. Same city, same host hotel, same lake, many of the same roads.
Whether the ITU cares overmuch about sharing the Lake Las Vegas venue with another for its long course champs, is not known. Paul Coleman—the ITU's point man in charge of long course worlds—is on vacation as of this writing. Loreen Barnett is the ITU's chief executive and is said to be traveling. No one else at the ITU could or would comment for this story.
Meckfessel maintains that WTC did not pressure or even request that Lowery reconsider his hosting of the ITU Long Course Worlds race, and Meckfessel expects that Lowery will be producing the ITU's championship. "Frank is running the ITU Long Course WC," Meckfessel said, and noted that the distance is not the same as the 70.3 event. The ITU Worlds course is staged over a 4k/120k/30k distance.
The move of the 70.3 championships from Clearwater leaves that city free to host the 5150 "Season Finale." It is uncertain what special designation "Season Finale" adds to the event, since the Hy-Vee 5150 is the "U.S. 5150 Championship." But it takes World Championship contestants off a much-criticized—for a World Championship—course and grants Clearwater an event more tailored for Clearwater's roads and topography. WTC has an agreement in place with the city of Clearwater calling for a race to occur on its roads on that weekend, according to Meckfessel, and replacing the 70.3 championship with a 5150 is an elegant way to execute that agreement.
The Ford Ironman World Championships retain their existing qualifying season dates: September 1 of this year through August 31 of next.
It is now confirmed that Interbike will stay in Las Vegas and keep that familiar time slot. Previously it was announced that the show would move to early August and Anaheim, CA and we had a few words with show director Andy Tompkins. 10.27.10
Ironman 70.3 World Championships will now rotate its venue worldwide and annually starting in 2014. This mainstreams the race, bringing it into conformity with most major sports championships. 5.07.13
The owners of the Ironman brand of multisport events dove down in distance with its announcement of 5150, a series of Olympic-distance races that poached prize properties from the Life Time and ITU series. 10.06.10
Ironman's purchase of the Muncie Endurathon revealed an interesting sidebar: WTC asked for, and was granted, a 60-day blackout around its event. How prevalent is this, and is it a reasonable expectation by WTC? 10.05.10
let the chips fall where they may
Reviewed by: Harry Barnes, Nov 21 2010 11:01AM
Moving 70.3 champs
WTC vs. the world
Reviewed by: ange1, Oct 12 2010 11:46AM
IM70.3 World Champs move to Las Vegas
Reviewed by: Charlie Pennington, Oct 8 2010 1:10AM