IRONMAN has announced that Memphis, Tennessee, will serve as a multi-year host venue for a new IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon. St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a specialist in childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, will serve as the title partner of the event.
The inaugural St Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon will take place on Saturday, October 3, 2020 with general registration and the accommodation platform opening on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at ironman.com/im703-memphis.
“We are extremely proud to welcome Memphis to the IRONMAN `Ohana,” said Keats McGonigal, Senior Regional Director for The IRONMAN Group. “Memphis will allow IRONMAN to deliver a world-class experience for athletes and their families. Memphis thrives as a tourism destination along with renowned medical care services for children through St Jude, and now we get to show it off as a triathlon destination.”
Located in the southwest corner of Tennessee, the city of Memphis is nestled on the Mississippi River. It is a realm of music icons, ‘where streets rock and the Mississippi River flows’. In the home of the blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll, visitors can chase music legends at Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Sun Studio and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Memphis has received numerous accolades including being listed as one of ‘America’s Friendliest Cities’ by Travel + Leisure, as well as ‘The Best Affordable Destinations in the US’ by US News and World Report.
“We are looking forward to showing off our hospitality, culture and history as we open our home and hearts to our guests,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. “There is no better venue for the triathletes than one of Shelby County’s greatest assets, Shelby Farms Park. We welcome athletes and their families to experience the rumblings of the mighty Mississippi, the musical nightlife of Beale Street, and the southern smoke of barbeque at the newest IRONMAN 70.3 destination.”
Beyond the historic music scene, Shelby Farms Park will be at the centre of the race. As one of the largest urban parks in the United States, the 4,500-acre park will host the swim and run portions of the event, while the bike course traverses east into Shelby and Fayette Counties.
“Through the hard work of the Memphis Sports Council, Memphis continues to grow as a major player on the global sports stage; and the St Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon complements the variety of year-round athletic events that draw hundreds of thousands to our city annually, including the World Golf Championships FedEx St Jude Invitational, Southern Heritage Classic, AutoZone Liberty Bowl and St Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend,” said Kevin Kane, President & CEO of Memphis Tourism.
“Memphis is not only the home of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll, it is also home to a variety of outdoor assets that combine with our world class leisure visitor offerings to create the ideal fit for athletes and their traveling cheer sections.”
Individuals can also participate in the event as St Jude Heroes – those who fundraise for St Jude through an athletic event. Registration is now open for a limited number of St Jude Hero fundraising entries.
“As we enter the 20th year of the St Jude Heroes program, we are excited to embark on this new opportunity for our generous fundraisers alongside our partners at IRONMAN and bring this prestigious event to our beloved city of Memphis,” said Richard Shadyac Jr, President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We are honoured to partner with an organization whose athletes exemplify some of the same fundamental values displayed daily in our patients, families and staff at St Jude: endurance, perseverance and fortitude.”
The 2020 St. Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon will begin with a rolling start format. The 1.2-mile swim will take place in the clear man-made waters of Hyde Lake in Shelby Farms Park. Hyde Lake offers a welcoming environment to new athletes as the shoreline is easily accessible from anywhere in the lake. Spectators can follow their athletes by walking the perimeter of the lake on paved paths.
Once out of the water, athletes will take on the 56-mile bike course that traverses the rolling hills of Shelby and Fayette Counties, before returning to Shelby Farms Park. The spectator friendly run course weaves through the paved and packed gravel trails of the park. Athletes will likely get a view of the buffalo herd that resides at the park while on the run course.
General registration for 2020 St Jude IRONMAN 70.3 Memphis triathlon will open on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. Athletes will be vying for slots to compete at the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in St George, Utah.