Trefloyne Golf Course on the outskirts of Tenby hosted the launch of the worst-kept secret in triathlon on Friday with the pronouncement of Ironman Wales.
Ironman Wales becomes the 26th full Ironman on the WTC (World Triathlon Corporation) calendar, and will take place on Sunday 11 September 2011.
“The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) is delighted to support Ironman Wales,” said WAG Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones. “This will raise the profile of Wales and Pembrokeshire as a destination of sport.”
Course details are yet to be finalised but Matthew Evans (pictured right), of Activity Wales, who were hosting a long-course triathlon weekend in Tenby on conclusion of the press launch (more at www.longcourseweekend.com) and will organise Ironman Wales, confirmed the following…
3.8km swim will take place on the South Beach. Depending on weather conditions, this can easily be moved to the North Beach.
The 180km bike will be a two-lap affair. It will be undulating but “contains no huge hills”.
Marathon route to be confirmed.
However, Activity Wales organised the inaugural Wales Marathon yesterday, which went through the centre of Tenby. Guesses are it’ll be a similar run route. More on the Wales Marathon at www.thewalesmarathon.com.
Whatever the final course will be, our recce of the area suggests it’ll challenge all levels of athlete.
We also noticed there was plenty of accommodation for potential athletes. With a capacity of 2,000, it’s potentially much-needed. And if it does sell out, the area will benefit from millions over the initial five-year agreement.
“This is a major coup for Pembrokeshire,” said the Mayor of Tenby, councillor Mrs Julie Evans. “Tenby’s major income is from tourism. With the race pencilled in for mid-September, this will extend the season, which will be great for the whole county.”
Ironman Wales is the second full M-Dot Brit race in 2011, in addition to Ironman UK, Bolton, to be held on Sunday 31 July.
It raises the question, will the new race clash or complement Ironman UK?
“I don’t think we’ll lose potential entrants,” says Richard Wallace, Race Director of Ironman UK. “I can see many Brits actually doing both races, especially the athletes who may not perform as hoped at the Bolton event.”
With August’s Outlaw and the new Challenge Henley in September, time will tell if the UK long-distance scene is big enough to cater for all four events.
But with 50 Hawaii 2012 slots up for grabs at Ironman Wales 2011, Kai Walter (pictured left), Managing Director of Ironman Europe, expects a large field. “In Germany this year, we held the first Ironman Regensburg. This was on top of the successful Ironman Germany in Frankfurt. Both races sold out and were very well received.”
The Ironman Wales website (www.ironmanwales.com) is set to go live later this week/early next. When it does, entry for the 2011 event will open.
Photoe: Ross Grieve www.rossgrievephotography.com