70.3 Worlds Internationalizes
Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Tue May 07 2013
The Ironman 70.3 World Championship was an instant hit when it first took place in Clearwater, Florida in 2006. But the course was criticized for its flatness, not allowing good cyclists to press their advantage in strong fields with high parity.
The race moved to the Lake Mead and Henderson areas outside of Las Vegas in 2011, and the course change was welcome to those wanting less drafting and a bumpier bike course profile. Indeed, the course seems to help those who are bike-adept, judging by last year’s podium toppers Sebastian Kienle and Leanda Cave.
The race has become very international at its pointy end, with the top-5 male and female over the past 2 years hailing from 8 different countries. The move to internationalize the world championship will broaden the Ironman brand and, perhaps, help open doors for the brand in areas — such as Eastern Europe — that have traditionally not been a market for World Triathlon Corporation.
World championship sites after the 2013 race in metro Las Vegas, to be held on the 8th of September, will be held on existing courses of current 70.3 races, and will not take place on first-time venues, says WTC’s CEO Andrew Messick.
If this move is a positive step toward internationalizing and mainstreaming the Ironman brand, why would it not also be good for the Ironman World Championship in Kona? WTC would have a harder time pulling the trigger on a movable world championship at the Ironman distance, because of the iconic nature of its granddaddy race. While the 70.3 championship never had a thematic and historic tie to the course, the weather, the elements, the full Ironman race does. There are no plans to change Kona’s perennial world championship status.
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