On April 18th, Ironman announced that Des Moines, Iowa, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee and Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been named finalists for a new Ironman event in 2020. It’s expected that the race would take place in late-Spring/early-Summer of 2020. Ironman last introduced a new full distance race in 2014, and the latest expansion is to increase the series in the Central United States.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring an Ironman event to the Central United States,” said Shane Facteau, Chief Operating Officer for Ironman. “We have been looking into this particular area of the country for a while now and felt the time is right to add a brand-new full-distance Ironman triathlon to the U.S Series.”
These four premier cities have a great deal to offer athletes and spectators alike, and they add another potential race for those Canadians residing in the prairies. Here is a look at each host-city finalist in more detail.
- Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa’s capital city and its surrounding communities boast big amenities in a safe and accessible location. Cultural events and festivals coupled with bike trails, parks, and lakes give residents and visitors of all ages plenty to do and see in Des Moines. Getting to the metro is easy from virtually any location worldwide as seven airlines service the Des Moines International Airport. More than 13,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 locally-owned restaurants greet visitors as they arrive to enjoy the area. Des Moines was also recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top-five place to live in the United States.
- Fayetteville, Arkansas – Surrounded by the scenic Ozark Mountains, the historic city of Fayetteville is the epicentre of rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas and has earned its reputation as an important hot spot for business, education and entertainment. Consistently named one of the nation’s best places to live, visit, or retire, Fayetteville offers the small-town feel that Arkansas is known for, yet has a wide range of exciting attractions. Fayetteville is overflowing with natural areas and parks, encompassing 3,000 acres of land. The city also boasts 70 parks with 40 miles of paved and natural trails, three lakes, 43 athletic fields/courts, a swimming pool, a BMX track and even a skate park.
- Memphis, Tennessee – Located in the southwest corner of Tennessee, the city of Memphis is nestled on the Mississippi River. It is the realm of music icons, where streets rock and the Mississippi River flows; it is a city that can feed your soul with its Southern hospitality and original flavours. Catch live music on Beale Street every night of the week. Sample the diverse food-and-drink scene that features ample barbecue and soul food—and experience Memphis’ new generation of chefs that like to riff on tradition—as well as the craft brewers and distillers who make sure you have something good to pair it with. Memphis has received numerous accolades including being listed as one of “America’s Friendliest Cities” by Travel + Leisure, as well as “The Best Affordable Destinations in the U.S” by US News and World Report.
- Tulsa, Oklahoma – Situated on the Arkansas River between the Osage Hills and the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma, Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state. It boasts a wide variety of attractions, including Gathering Place (the largest privately funded public park in the country), Philbrook and Gilcrease museums, the Tulsa Zoo, and the Oklahoma Aquarium. Tulsa is known as a barbeque town but also boasts James Beard award-winning seafood and internationally renowned craft beer.