Aukeman Triathlon supporters and volunteers cheer on a swimmer as they leave Auke Lake on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Juneau is being considered to host a three-year series of Ironman triathlons, the first of which wold be held next August. (Nolin Ainsworth/Juneau Empire File)

Juneau is in the running to host an Ironman triathlon

Running, biking and swimming to the finish line

If you’ve ever thought about competing in an Ironman, lace up your training shoes — an Ironman may be coming to the City and Borough of Juneau.

Juneau is in the running to host a three-year series of Ironman triathlons beginning in August of 2022, according to a memo written by George Schaaf, CBJ Parks and Recreation director, and shared with CBJ Assembly members this week. If Juneau is selected as a race location, it will be Alaska’s first Ironman-branded event.

According to the memo, these events could bring up to 1,500 athletes to town along with friends and family members who support them.

Travel Juneau, who has been working with event organizers, estimates that the race could generate $7-$9 million of economic activity in the community along with $35,000 in hotel bed tax revenue.

“This would be an economic boon for the community,” said Assembly member Wade Bryson as the assembly heard more about the prospect from Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove at a recent assembly meeting .“What can we do to make us a more desirable place for the event?”

According to Cosgrove, the potential dates in early August work well with school and university calendars. She said the proposed race course extends from the Mendenhall Valley to Point Bridget and avoids the downtown, which is generally full of cruise ship passengers during that time of year.

New Glory Hall readies for opening next week

Why Juneau?

“The conversations have been going on since late last year,” said Kara Tetley, destination marketing manager at Travel Juneau. During a phone interview this week, she said that hosting the event could help cement Juneau’s branding as a destination for outside training.

Tetley said conversations with the Ironman group got started after a member of the Ironman’s planning team visited Juneau on a cruise and thought it was a beautiful place.

She said the competition for host cities is global and that news of a final decision about the race’s location should be available soon.

According to the memo, there are 45 Ironman races each year in a variety of locations, including Chattanooga, Tennessee; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Maple Valley, Washington.

Non-elevated portion of Steep Creek Trail to close

CBJ’s role

While the city stands to benefit from race participants visiting, organizers ask host cities to contribute to race expenses.

“While the event is largely self-supported, the organizers require the host community to make a significant commitment of funding and in-kind support, including a race fee,” reads Schaaf’s memo.

Travel Juneau has negotiated a reduced race fee of $100,000 a year, assuming a three-year commitment. In addition, the Ironman group has asked CBJ to waive fees for the use of city lands and facilities and commercial use permit fees, Schaaf wrote in the memo.

According to the memo, the Ironman group provides all race staff, organizes community volunteers and manages logistics. Those logistics include traffic control, security, first aid, sanitation, and waste disposal. Local governments are not obligated to provide public safety personnel beyond emergency rescue service. Similarly, public works are not expected to provide services outside of normal operations.

About the Ironman

According to the company’s website, the Ironman group is the largest operator of mass participation sports globally, with more than a million participants each year. The site says the first Ironman took place on the Hawaiin island of Oahu in 1978 when 15 participants combined the island’s three most grueling races into a single athletic event.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

Wreath bearers present wreaths for fallen comrades, brothers and sisters in arms during a Memorial Day ceremony at Alaskan Memorial Park on Monday. Laying wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes is a way to honor and remember the sacrifices made. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Traditional Memorial Day ceremonies offer new ways to ‘never forget’ those who served

New installations at memorial sites, fresh words of reminder shared by hundreds gathering in Juneau.

Thunder Mountain High School graduates celebrate after moving their tassels to the left, their newly received diplomas in hand, at the end of Sunday’s commencement ceremony. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
‘Forever a Falcon’: Thunder Mountain High School celebrates final graduating class

147 seniors get soaring sendoff during 16th annual commencement full of heightened emotions.

Seniors at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé enter the gymnasium for their commencement ceremony on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
JDHS graduates celebrate journey from virtual ‘pajama class’ freshmen to virtuous camaraderie

Resolve in overcoming struggles a lifelong lesson for future, seniors told at commencement ceremony.

Sierra Guerro-Flores (right) listens to her advisor Electra Gardinier after being presented with her diploma at Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School’s graduation ceremony Sunday in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé auditorium. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Alternatives are vast for Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi High School’s graduating class

31 students take center stage during ceremony revisiting their paths at the school and what’s next.

The LeConte state ferry in 2023. (Lex Treinen / Chilkat Valley News)
Stranded Beerfest travelers scramble to rebook after LeConte ferry breakdown

Loss of 225-passenger ferry leaves many Juneau-bound revelers looking for other ways home.

A photo taken from the terminal roof shows the extent of the first phase of paving to accommodate large aircraft. (Mike Greene / City and Borough of Juneau)
Large-scale repaving project plants itself at Juneau International Airport

Work may take two to three years, schedule seeks to limit impact on operations.

Capital Transit buses wait to depart from the downtown transit center on Thursday. Route number 8 was adjusted this spring. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
More service, visitor information helping Capital Transit to keep up with extra cruise passenger traffic

Remedies made after residents unable to board full buses last year seem to be working, officials say

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, May 23, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read