Ironman Online Streaming is bringing their signature 70.3 half-triathlon to the Bluff City in 2020, the company announced on Tuesday.
Set to take place at Shelby Farms Park, the course will entail a 1.2-mile swim and a 13.1 mile run inside the park, and a 56-mile bike ride that begins and ends in Shelby Farms, for a combined 70.3-mile course.
At the Tuesday announcement set against the backdrop of Hyde Lake in Shelby Farms, president and CEO of Memphis Tourism Kevin Kane said the projected economic impact of the event is $10 million.
Reminding the crowd that Memphis was once deemed as one of the unhealthiest cities in the nation, Kane said the announcement of a world-class endurance sporting event is another example of how that narrative is changing.
“The world of fitness is taking notice with what they see in Memphis and in Shelby County,” Kane said.
Earlier this year, Memphis lost the bid to become the next city to host a full Ironman triathlon in the U.S. to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
But officials with the racing company were impressed by what they saw in Memphis and Shelby Farms — one of the largest urban parks in the nation — and decided to host a half-triathlon course, according to the park’s executive director, Jen Andrews.
Andrews, on hand for Tuesday’s announcement, said the Ironman is a “manifestation of the dreams” she and her team had for the park when taking over its conservancy ten years ago.