Historic annual race moved to Haines City for 2018 event due to damage from Hurricane Michael
TAMPA, Fla. – IRONMAN announced today that the 21st edition of IRONMAN® Florida triathlon will return to its original location in Panama City Beach in 2019. Due to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Michael on Panama City Beach and the surrounding Bay County, IRONMAN and local partners concluded it would not be feasible to host IRONMAN Florida in its usual location for 2018. All resources in Panama City Beach and Bay County have been focused on public safety and the significant recovery efforts required.
The 20th edition of IRONMAN Florida will instead take place this weekend on Sunday, November 4, 2018 in Haines City, Florida, which is the popular venue for the IRONMAN 70.3® Florida triathlon held each April.
“We are grateful to Polk County and Haines City for stepping up to support a fellow Florida city and help make IRONMAN Florida possible on such a condensed timeline. It has been a collective goal to use this year’s event to create the best possible race experience for our athletes and lift up Panama City Beach, allowing for them to take care of their needs. At the same time, we know the positive tourism impact our races can have for communities and we are thrilled to know Panama City Beach will be ready for the return of thousands of athletes and their families and friends in 2019,” said Shane Facteau, Chief Operating Officer for IRONMAN. “We have 20 years of history racing in the region and look forward to continuing that legacy and helping Panama City Beach get back to business with next year’s event.”
The 2019 IRONMAN Florida triathlon in Panama City Beach will take place on Saturday, November 2, 2019. With the host city of Panama City Beach and the surrounding Bay County still under repair, athletes are asked to remain patient when booking accommodations.
“Visit Panama City Beach is proud to have hosted IRONMAN in the destination for the last 20 years,” said Richard Sanders, Vice President of Sports and Events of Visit Panama City Beach. “The devastation of Hurricane Michael has impacted our community, but we plan to return stronger than ever in 2019 to host thousands of talented athletes to The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.”
As part of the recovery efforts for the local race community in Panama City Beach, the IRONMAN Foundation has set up multiple initiatives to aid in relief:
- DONATE – The IRONMAN Foundation will match all donations received by IRONMAN Florida race weekend, up to $100,000 and has already pledged $50,000 to support recovery efforts.
- T-SHIRT SALES – 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of a custom Humanitarian Relief T-shirt will go towards the IRONMAN Foundation’s Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts.
- VOLUNTEER – Register to volunteer and provide hands-on recovery assistance at local service projects to be announced.
- RUN – Prior to IRONMAN Florida in Haines City, the 2018 IRONMAN Foundation Community 5K to Support Hurricane Michael Relief presented by HOKA ONE ONE will be held on Saturday, November 3. Proceeds from this event will go directly to relief efforts in Panama City Beach to provide assistance as they work to recover and rebuild.
- GIFT CARD DONATIONS– Visit the IRONMAN Foundation booth in IRONMAN Village in Haines City on Thursday, November 1, through Saturday, November 3, the IRONMAN Foundation will collect VISA gift cards to be provided to individuals impacted in the greater Panama City Beach region.
For more information on the IRONMAN Foundation Community 5K, including registration, as well as how to donate, purchase t-shirts or volunteer for future recovery projects, visit the IRONMAN Foundation booth in IRONMAN Village during race week or go to www.ironmanfoundation.org/florida.
Additionally, the Official IRONMAN Store at this weekend’s event in Haines City will have special Panama City Beach apparel available for purchase with proceeds from sales going towards Hurricane Michael Relief efforts. Customers will also be able to add a tip-in donation at the registers when checking out.
As part of Wanda Sports Holdings, the IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, trail running like Ultra-Trail Australia™, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holdings
Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media and marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.