IRONMAN has announced 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 instead took 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,” said Shane Facteau, Chief Operating Officer for IRONMAN.
“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.
“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 US$100,000 and has already pledged US$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 was held on Saturday, November 3. Proceeds from this event go directly to relief efforts in Panama City Beach to provide assistance as they work to recover and rebuild.
Gift card donations – At the IRONMAN Foundation booth in IRONMAN Village in Haines City on Thursday, November 1, through Saturday, November 3, the IRONMAN Foundation collected VISA gift cards to be provided to individuals impacted in the greater Panama City Beach region.
Additionally, the Official IRONMAN Store at this weekend’s event in Haines City had special Panama City Beach apparel available for purchase with proceeds from sales going towards Hurricane Michael Relief efforts. Customers were also be able to add a tip-in donation at the registers when checking out.
General registration for the 2019 IRONMAN Florida triathlon will open on Monday, November 12, 2018.