New York Ironman Event Will Be World’s Most Expensive Triathlon

New York’s inaugural Ironman could cost as much as $1,000 to enter, making it the world’s most-expensive triathlon.

Officials at World Triathlon Corp., Ironman’s parent company, said they’ll have to spend “several million” dollars on permits, law enforcement, medical personnel and other race-related expenses for next year’s endurance event.

“We’re still in the process of getting in all of the final bids and contracts,” Steve Meckfessel, chief operating officer of World Triathlon, said in an interview.

World Triathlon yesterday said the 140.6-mile (226.2-kilometer) competition will be held in the New York metropolitan area on Aug. 11, 2012. Athletes will race through parts of New York City and suburbs in New York and New Jersey.

In addition to permitting expenses, organizers plan to lease six barges to be placed in the Hudson River to be used for the start of the 2.4-mile swim portion. A platform will also be constructed across the river to enable swimmers to exit the water and begin the 112-mile bike leg in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Costs will exceed those at other Ironman events, such as the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, and the European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany, Meckfessel said. An entry fee for a typical Ironman event is $575.

“$750 is certainly a given,” Meckfessel said. “Most of our prices worldwide are about $600. It’s going to be higher than that.”

Title Sponsor

The company expects to have a corporate title sponsor in place before the race, Chief Sales Officer Mike Pine said.

“Being in New York, there’s so much opportunity with title sponsors that we haven’t been able to attract in the past,” he said. “Things like airlines, hotel chains, health insurance or even an alcohol partner.”

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 first year of a triathlon, you don’t really know what the course can handle,” said John Korff, president of Korff Enterprises, which will organize the race in partnership with World Triathlon. “It could grow to 2,800, 3,200 or even 3,500.”

Korff has staged the Nautica NYC Triathlon at the Olympic distance of 31.9 miles for the past 11 years. That race is now part of the Ironman 5150 Series.

The New York Ironman race is being put on in partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity that helps fund poverty programs and groups in New York. The goal is to raise $250,000 this year for the charity.

‘Tough Ironman’

Robin Hood Foundation team member Charles Macintosh, a mortgage trader at Morgan Keegan Inc., has done more than 100 triathlons and won the Janus Corporate Challenge division of the Nautica NYC Triathlon in 2008 and 2009.

“I suspect it will be an extremely fast swim,” said Macintosh, who’s done Ironman France and is shooting for under 10 hours at Ironman Florida later this year. “It’s probably going to be a pretty hilly bike course. All in all it’s going to be a tough Ironman.”

The cost may not deter competitors. About 2,000 of the approximate 3,000 competitors in the 2010 NYC Triathlon worked in the financial services industry, race officials said, and Ironman competitors have an average annual income of $161,000, according to World Triathlon.

Race Course

The Hudson River swim will be followed by a bike ride from the Palisades Parkway on the west side of the Hudson to 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.

Competitors have 17 hours to finish, 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.

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.

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