Fayetteville is among the finalists to host the world’s premier endurance tests: the IRONMAN Triathlon.
Officials with IRONMAN recently announced that Fayetteville will join Memphis, Des Moines and Tulsa as possible locations for the 2020 event. Officials will be visiting the four central United States cities as the selection process continues. The decision is expected to come by mid-June.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring an IRONMAN event to the Central United States,” Shane Facteau, chief operating officer for IRONMAN, said. “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.
“First-class cities from around the region shared their interest with us and we are pleased to move forward with Des Moines, Fayetteville, Memphis, and Tulsa on the next stage of this process. All four of these cities present great opportunities to put on a world-class IRONMAN triathlon through their unique landscapes, culture, history and hospitality, that our athletes and their families and friends would surely appreciate.”
The IRONMAN website described Fayetteville in the following:
“Surrounded by the scenic Ozark Mountains, the historic city of Fayetteville is the epicenter 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 the entertainment capital of Northwest Arkansas, with its thriving arts scene, legendary live music and nightlife, culinary treasures and endless events and attractions for all ages. 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. Fayetteville is well known as being a bike-friendly city.”
“We have excellent facilities and amenities that give us the opportunity to host a world-class event like IRONMAN,” Molly Rawn, executive director of Experience Fayetteville, said. “We’re excited about what this means for Fayetteville and look forward to showcasing our city.”
Neighboring Memphis is also being considered for the 2020 IRONMAN triathlon. The city recently held a pep rally for IRONMAN representatives at the Shelby Farms.
The triathlon is predicted to have a $10 million impact on whichever city wins the honors. For Fayetteville, the event likely to create a tourism boost that stretches well beyond the city. The triathlon has generated approximately 12,000 hotel room nights in other host cities, with athletes typically staying in the community for three to four days. Fayetteville has roughly 1,500 of the region’s 8,500 hotels.
The Ironman Triathlon Series is recognized as the world’s best full-distance triathlon series offering athletes the opportunity to push beyond their perceived limits by swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles in route to completing one of the world’s most challenging single-day endurance races. Since its inception in 1978, the Ironman triathlon has come to represent the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit for both professional and amateur athletes. Consisting of more than 40 full-distance races globally, the series culminates in the pinnacle of triathlon with the Ironman World Championship held annually in Hawaii.