Quietly acknowledged in British circles after word of the race first seeped out in September, the Half-Ironman UK Triathlon was officially announced on Monday by World Triathlon Corporation president Lew Friedland as the newest Hawaii Ironman qualifier.
It is set for Sept. 9, 2001, as a half-Ironman with 30 qualifying spots and $25,000 in prize money.
According to Simon Blackburn, one of the event's managing directors, this will be the largest payday in British triathlon history. (Technically that's true, although the Powerman Guernsey event a duathlon paid about US$30,000 during each of its three years, until 1999).
The Wales race will be run under "provisional" status as a half-Ironman in its first year and is expected to develop to full Ironman distance in 2002.
"When we decided to branch out into the United Kingdom, we talked with several groups," Friedland said. "We were impressed with the knowledge and the passion of the folks at BIG Triathlon and the great location they selected for the event, so we knew they'd be the right partners for us."
The race will be staged by BIG Triathlon Ltd. The principals, each with impressive event and marketing credentials, include Simon Blackburn, Chris Boon, Alison Boon and Ron Bell. They hope to attract a first-year field of 1,400.
Information regarding the Half Ironman UK Triathlon is available at www.bigtriathlon.com. Applications for the Half Ironman UK Triathlon are also available online.