HUNTSVILLE – Huntsville is in the running for a full Ironman triathlon.
Dr. Rich Trenholm and Krya Watters made a pitch to Huntsville council on Sept. 18 in an attempt to convince it to commit $100,000 in cash and in kind donations as part of a bid for a larger, more prestigious triathlon than the town already hosts.
“We’re here about four years earlier than we expected to be here,” said Trenholm. “We’re coming to you to get your commitment in helping us be the only place in the world to host all three Ironman events.”
The town now hosts several triathlons, including Ironman 70.3, Muskoka Grind, 5150 Triathlon and the Muskoka Kids Tri. The new bid is for Ironman Canada.
Former Ironman Canada host Penticton, BC, held the race for the past 30 years, but officials there have decided to go with a different race provider.
Huntsville’s bid was submitted Monday, Sept. 24, but it needed some support to back it up. That support came in part from the town.
Trenholm told council triathlon advocate TriMuskoka needed the town to commit to signing a contract with the World Triathlon Corporation as a step toward hosting Ironman Canada from 2013 to 2017.
It also needed a commitment of $100,000 – half in cash and half in in-kind donations – to help cover licensing fees and the race. Trenholm noted that if the town did host the event, Ironman Canada’s foundation would give $50,000 to the town to be used on local active-living projects.
He said Huntsville’s experience in hosting triathlons coupled with the facilities and amenities here make it a prime candidate for securing the rights to Ironman Canada.
About 3,000 athletes are expected to participate in the event. The race could have an estimated economic impact of $12.5 million in the race week alone, said Trenholm, noting that athletes and their families would likely come to the region before the race to train for the grueling swim, run and bike event.
If the town were to host Ironman Canada along with its related events, Ironman 70.3 and the 5150 Triathlon, it could also more vigorously promote itself as a triathlon training ground and get year-round visitors.
It means more people, more often, said Trenholm.
“This is an opportunity to become the premier destination for endurance sport in Ontario, if not Canada,” he said.
Council approved the recommendation to commit $100,000 to the race, should Huntsville be awarded the opportunity to host it.
Director Virginia Hastings created a video as part of the bid package highlighting the town and the triathlons here. It can be seen at https://vimeo.com/50021192
The community’s support is still needed. Trenholm hopes the bid, along with community support, will sway the World Triathlon Corporation into awarding the event to north Muskoka.
He is asking residents to log onto http://trimuskoka.com/welcome-to-trimuskoka-2/ironman-canada-muskoka, and cast a vote in support of the bid.