IRONMAN purchased the established Beach 2 Battleship events from the YMCA of Wilmington. The full distance race will henceforth be the PPD IRONMAN North Carolina. The half distance race on the same day will be the PPD IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina.
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Wilmington Family YMCA will remain the main fundraising benefactor of the event," according to the locally-based Star News Online.
"When the idea was conceived in 2007, our hope was to create an event which would attract triathletes from around the country. And we have been able to do so – thanks to the communities of Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington and Setup Events Race Production. Together, the results have been an amazing win for our community and the YMCA," said Dick Jones, CEO of the Wilmington Family YMCA and co-founder of the PPD Beach2Battleship event. "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. 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. We are thrilled to bring IRONMAN to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach and to join the IRONMAN family of events."
On Saturday, October 22, 2016 athletes will again gather in Wrightsville Beach, NC, but this time under the IRONMAN banner.
While there is reason for joy in Wilmington, NC, some in Hilton Head Island, SC are less excited. They missed out on their chance at an IRONMAN.
"For the year and a half I have been involved as a team member to bring Ironman to Hilton Head it was difficult because of the lack of support we had from law enforcement, and that was from day 1," said Alfred Olivetti of Go Tri Sports on Hilton Head Island. "I did not think that was going to be the death nell of it, because I thought once public officials were on the same page, more or less the Sheriff would do his job, because he is paid by the county. But apparently he carried more weight than any other public official in the county.
"I put myself in Ironman's shoes and I can see how they came to their decision. They have a venue in Hilton Head where there is a struggle, basically lack of support by the Sheriff's office, and they can go north, south, east or west and they will be received with open arms, making it easy for them," added Olivetti. "Ironman wanted to be here, they showed us that. In that year and a half there were at least four to six site visits, and I even took a helicopter ride with two guys from Operations to view the course. So it was ours to lose, and we lost it."
"Have you been to Hilton Head?" offered a veteran Carolinas race producer with a different take on it. "Have you seen that road? Shut down that road and any form of emergency happens, it's hard to respond. Maybe the sheriff was being realistic."
According to Olivetti this hunt for an IRONMAN event on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is not over.
"They want to be here. But speaking with them yesterday, they said until there is an attitude change or personnel change in law enforcement, they can't see it happen," added Olivetti.
Registration for PPD IRONMAN North Carolina and the 70.3 event begins on December 18th via ironman.com/NorthCarolina and folks trying to register for the half distance event can do so via ironman.com/70.3NorthCarolina