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Ironman Inaugural New York Event to Be Held in August 2012

World Triathlon Corp. will stage its Ironman U.S. Championship in New York next year, the first time the company’s marquee endurance event will be held in the biggest U.S. market and capitalizing on the sport’s popularity among financial professionals.

The 140.6-mile (226.2-kilometer) competition will take place Aug. 11, 2012, with athletes racing through parts of New York City and suburbs in New York and New Jersey. Registration for the race will open June 15 on a first-come, first-serve basis. The field will consist of about 2,500 professional and amateur athletes.

The entry fee hasn’t been determined yet, organizers said. A typical Ironman race costs $575 to take part in and competitors have an average annual income of $161,000, according to World Triathlon. About 2,000 of the approximate 3,000 competitors in the 2010 NYC Triathlon worked in the financial services industry, race officials said.

“Bringing the Ironman experience to the New York City metropolitan area will allow athletes to compete with the world’s most iconic skyline as their backdrop,” Ben Fertic, World Triathlon’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The event will begin with a 2.4-mile swim down the Hudson River. Competitors then will cycle 112 miles, beginning on the Palisades Parkway on the west side of the Hudson and ending in Fort Lee, New Jersey, after looping through New Jersey’s Bergen and New York’s Rockland counties. The race concludes with a 26.2-mile run from Fort Lee to Riverside Park in Manhattan.

Time Limit

Competitors have 17 hours to finish an Ironman, making it difficult to close large sections of the city, organizers said. Because of this, most of the race’s bike portion will take place outside of Manhattan.

“This thing is going to go like wildfire,” said Andrew Shapiro, 50, an investment adviser at MetLife Financial Group in New York, who has done five Ironmans with a best time of 12 hours, 38 minutes. “This is going to be a very hot ticket, not only for New York, but internationally.”

Shapiro, who rides a Giant TCR1 bike, said he had been considering taking part in an Ironman after he turned 50.

“This could get the juices going,” said Shapiro, who plans to sign up for the race.

The event joins 26 other long-course races held around the globe by World Triathlon. The company yesterday also announced a new Ironman-distance event in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, to be staged Aug. 19, 2012.

Lengths Vary

The Ironman race was created in Hawaii in 1978. Since then, World Triathlon and other organizations have created races in distances ranging from 8 miles, or super sprint, to 70.3 miles, or a half Ironman.

A total of 75 age-group qualifying spots for the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, will be offered in the New York race, the most of any North American Ironman event.

“It’s very convenient to have it here,” said Benoit Le, 30, a rates trader at Dexia Credit Local in New York, who has done Olympic distance and half-Ironmans and plans to sign up for the New York event. “It may be a big, big thing here.”

In the decade after triathlon first appeared in the Olympics in 2000, membership of USA Triathlon soared to 135,000 from 20,000, according to the sport’s governing body in the U.S.

The New York race will be staged in partnership with Korff Enterprises, which operates the Nautica NYC Triathlon at the Olympic distance of 31.9 miles.

Triathlon Partnership

World Triathlon, which owns and operates Ironman-branded events, recently partnered with Korff and the NYC Triathlon to promote the event as part of Ironman’s 5150 Triathlon Series.

The 11-year-old NYC Triathlon, which is scheduled for Aug. 7, consists of a .9-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. The 2010 event sold out in six minutes, according to Korff. Entrance for this year’s event was conducted via lottery in November.

Ironman world champion Chris McCormack of Australia is scheduled to discuss the New York race at the Harvard Club of New York City tonight. The Robin Hood Foundation, a charity that helps fund poverty programs and groups in New York, is organizing the event.

World Triathlon gets its revenue from races; licensing deals with companies such as athletic shoemaker K-Swiss Inc. and watchmaker Timex; and sponsorships with companies including Ford Motor Co. and General Mills Inc. Its brands also include Irongirl, Ironman 70.3 and Ironkids.

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