On May 7th, Penticton city council voted to have staff work out a five-year agreement with Ironman to begin hosting the race in 2020 – as reported by the Penticton Herald. The deal would end an eight-year split. “I think Penticton lost a bit of its identity when we parted ways,” said Coun. Katie Robinson. “It’s time to bring Ironman back home to Penticton.”
“One of the darkest days in my history was when we had to make a difficult decision many years ago,” said Coun. Judy Sentes, who, along with Mayor John Vassilaki, was on the 2012 council that cut ties with Ironman in a fight over costs and local control. “One of my happiest days is this decision we’re making now.”
Terms of the agreement are still to be finalized, however, there would be a gross annual cost to the city of $663,000. That includes $299,000 cash — $150,000 of which is Ironman’s licensing fee — plus another $110,000 worth of in-kind services. As of right now, city staff have already come up with $53,000 on top of $200,000 in commitments from the business community.
Triathlons, especially Ironman events draw in a lot of business for host communities. Ironman Canada 2017 in Whistler, attracted 11,174 people and generated $8.8 million in visitor spending and $3.5 million in local wages and salaries.
Dave Christen, the Ironman’s regional director for the Northwest U.S. and Canada, pledged the new race would honour past Ironman traditions, such as Friday night pasta dinners, awards ceremonies and opportunities for non-profits to earn money supporting the race. “This is where Ironman Canada was born,” said Christen. “This a commitment from us to make sure it’s done the right way.”