Oceanside out, Provo in for newest U.S. Ironman event

PROVO, Utah Ironman North America, the city of Provo and the Utah County Convention and Visitors Bureau are pleased to announce the addition of an Ironman event in Provo, Utah, to take place on Saturday, June 8, 2002.

Provo, 44 miles south of Salt Lake City, will play host to Ironman Utah for the next five years.

With the announcement, Ironman Utah becomes the westernmost Ironman event in the continental United States.

"We are very excited to be coming to Provo," said Ironman North America President Graham Fraser. "They have made a commitment to our event for five years and the natural beauty of the area and the community spirit make for a perfect fit with Ironman."

Provo was chosen as an Ironman city following an intensive selection process, which also included sites in Texas, the city of Oceanside, Calif.

"Provo made a five-year commitment to host our Western U.S. event," Fraser said. "While Ironman California was an impressive event, we couldn't get a guaranteed long-term commitment from the site there. We need stability to build the event, and Provo will provide that."

Provo becomes one of only four sites in the continental United States to play host to an Ironman event, joining Lake Placid, N.Y. (Ironman USA Lake Placid), Panama City, Fla. (Ironman Florida) and Madison, Wisc. (Ironman Wisconsin). The addition of Provo provides an Ironman event in four different regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West) of the United States.

"It was important to us to provide a great host site for our athletes, but also to provide a race that was easily accessible for our Western athletes," Fraser said. "Combine that with the beauty of the Utah County area, a proven track record of hosting events, and their willingness to launch a new event in the Olympic year showed their commitment to the event."

While course routes are being finalized, officials say the swim will take place in Utah Lake and the transition, expo, Athlete Village and Finish line will all be located at the Brigham Young University Athletic Field on campus. Brigham Young University plays host to 32, 000 college students.

The Carbo and Awards Banquet will be hosted by Utah Valley State College at the McKay Events Center.

Utah County officials are quite pleased to add an Ironman event.

"Ironman brings with it not only a significant economic impact but the kind of community spirit all communities are working toward," said Gary Herbert, chairman of the Utah County Board of Commissioners. "We have had many groups and organizations working to bring this event to our community. Our staff has put forth a tremendous effort, but without the volunteer participation and cooperation from community leaders, businesses and the schools of higher learning, we could not have been able to attract this event. A community could not be more excited or its people more anxious to host this event than we are."

There will be 80 qualifying spots up for grabs at the inaugural Ironman Utah event for the 2002 Ironman World Championship being held in October in Kona, Hawaii.

Registration for the inaugural event is now open. Log onto www.ironmanutah.com to register for the event.

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