Ironman North America announces 2005 Ironman Arizona

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ironman North America, the Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau and the city of Tempe are proud to announce the addition of the newest race in the Ironman North America series, Ironman Arizona.

The inaugural Ironman Arizona is set to take place on Saturday, April 9, 2005.

Online registration for the event opens Friday, June 18, 2004 at 12:01 a.m. Register online today!

The five-year agreement makes Tempe one of only five sites in the continental United States to host a sanctioned Ironman event.

"Tempe is a great fit for Ironman North America," said Ironman North America President Graham Fraser. "One of our goals has been to host an Ironman in a large-scale market, and the Tempe region is a great market for our venture in the Southwest. There is great excitement about this event already."

Ironman triathlon is considered one of the most grueling and inspiring events in all of sports. Ironman triathlon features a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a complete marathon (26.2 miles) all in succession. Athletes have 17 hours to complete the event (from the 7 a.m. start until midnight).

The Arizona event has been made possible by cooperation between Ironman North America, the city of Tempe, Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of Fountain Hills and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, as well the State of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Transportation.

"As Governor, I am proud of Tempe, Fountain Hills, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community for working together -- not only to create an outstanding Ironman course, but for bringing more than $4 million in tourism to Arizona with this event," said Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano of the announcement.

What began as a bet among a group of Naval officers 25 years ago now has become an international phenomenon, with 16 events around the world featuring more than 20,000 athletes annually. The crux of the original argument: Were swimmers, cyclists or runners the fittest?

So on Feb. 18, 1978, 15 competitors decided to put themselves to the test by swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles. And thus, Ironman triathlon was born.

With 16 sanctioned races worldwide, Ironman touches all corners of the globe and has races on every continent except Antarctica.

With the addition of Tempe, Ironman now hosts a full-distance Ironman in every corner of continental North America: the Southeast (Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach, Florida), Northeast (Ironman USA Lake Placid in Lake Placid, New York), the Northwest (Subaru Ironman Canada in Penticton, British Columbia and Ironman USA Coeur dAlene in Coeur dAlene, Idaho), the Midwest (Ironman Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin) -- and now, with Ironman Arizona, the Southwest.

"At the risk of sounding redundant, this event would not have been possible without the creation of Town Lake," Mayor Neil Giuliano said. "Tempe is proud to again partner with our neighbors to host an international competition, especially one as renowned as the Ironman."

"Hosting the Ironman Arizona Triathlon is a tremendous coup for Tempe," added Stephanie Nowack, President/CEO of the Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It enhances our positioning as an appealing and viable destination for major sporting events."

More than 1,800 athletes from all over the world typically compete in an individual Ironman events in the United States.

The Arizona event will feature 80 qualifying spots to the 2005 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii as well as a pro prize purse.

For more information on Ironman Arizona, visit www.ironmanarizona.com.


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