Ironman triathlon won't be coming to Hilton Head

rdamgen@islandpacket.comAugust 15, 2013 

Hilton Head Island won't host an Ironman triathlon next fall.

Chattanooga, Tenn. will host the annual southeast region race for five years beginning in September 2014, according to Ironman's website.

But Hilton Head, which made the final four as a possible site for the event, could host a half version of the race -- a 70.3-mile Ironman -- in 2015, Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Charlie Clark said.

Other finalists were Asheville, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, Clark said. Eighty locations applied.

The chamber applied in the spring to host the full race, which features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile run. Ironman officials visited the island to see the proposed courses for the race, including some that were off the island.

Ironman officials told the chamber that course routes were one of the reasons the island wasn't chosen, Clark said. They didn't say what specifically disqualified the island.

Chamber officials hoped to attract about 2,500 athletes to the race who would then eat, sleep and shop in the area. Competitors were predicted to bring a $10 to $15 million economic boost, chamber president Bill Miles said in April.

Ironman officials encouraged Hilton Head to apply to host the shortened version of the race, which would include swimming, biking and running, Clark said. That could be a precursor to hosting a full triathlon. Boulder, Colo., for example, has hosted a 70.3 Ironman every year since 2010 and will host a full triathlon in 2014.

Registration for the Chattanooga race will open Sept. 4, according to the Iron Man website. The race will be a qualifier for an Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on Oct. 10, 2015.

Follow reporter Rachel Damgen at

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