Ironman Coming to the Woodlands

No blog for many, many months. But now I have something to write about! The Ironman is coming to the Woodlands. Great article below:


conroe courier – sports

It’s official:Woodlands to host 2011 Ironman
Published: 06.23.10
Last October, The Woodlands’ Timothy Monk posted the fastest time of any Ironman finisher from Montgomery County at the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

He got there by earning a spot with a great nine hour, 53-minute and 19-second performance at the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run Ironman competition in Madison, Wisconsin the fall before.

Next May, the 39-year-old hopes to be one of 65 qualifiers to the 2011 World Championships, but by doing so in his hometown.

“This will be huge for our community,” Monk said ecstatically. “Congratulations to our leadership for recognizing what such an awesome event will do for The Woodlands.”

After a presentation by Ironman’s Chief Operations Officer Steve Meckfessel to the boards of The Woodlands Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the The Woodlands Township Board of Directors, both bodies Wednesday evening voted to approve the creation of the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas, which will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2011 in The Woodlands.

The news was greeted with euphoric and boisterous applause in The Township Service Center meeting room, which was packed with triathletes from all of the major clubs and training groups in The Woodlands.

The common question from those athletes was: “When can we sign up?”

Registration for Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas, one of 24 World Championship qualifiers, will open Friday afternoon, June 25, at noon.

While many area triathletes are concerned of Ironman’s quick sellouts in their second, third or fourth year of operation, Meckfessel is perhaps a bit more realistic of a first-year event.

“It takes us some time to build that reputation and to build that demand,” he said. “Without exception, all of our domestic races for this year are or will be sold out.

“And certainly we have high expectations of this in terms of registration and the demand, but the real expectation is that it may take several weeks to get the word out.”

World Triathlon Corporation, Ironman’s owner, has already tabbed Keith Jordan from Austin as its race director for Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas.

Jordan has been the driving force behind both of the current Ironman 70.3 races in Galveston and Austin.

The former race, which will be held approximately six weeks before next year’s Ironman Texas event in The Woodlands, is also sponsored by the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.

Memorial Hermann has made resurgence in the last three years with its support of a number of area triathlons.

“I think that is (a result of) the development of our sports medicine program and Sports Medicine Institute at our Medical Center Hospital,” said Memorial Hermann – The Woodlands Chief Executive Officer Steve Sanders. “It is involving research and working with elite athletes of the world along with the weekend athlete as well.

“We too were looking for a partner like Ironman to bring some recognition to our Institute and to work with elite athletes of the world as part of our program.”

And Memorial Hermann – The Woodlands Chief Operating Officer Joshua Urban, a three-time participant from 1998 to 2000 at the Kona World Championship is realizing a past vision coming true.

“It’s very exciting for me, living here for 15 years, and competing in these races for four years,” Urban said. “Ten years ago, I did all of my training on the proposed bike route, swimming locally in the (former) Woodlands Aquatic Center and running, of course, everywhere around The Woodlands.

“I used to always think to myself that it would be really awesome to put on an Ironman here. We got everything that we need to do it here. It is kind of serendipitous that ten years later it’s actually going to happen.”

Meckfessel announced that participants will begin with a swim in Lake Woodlands, entering the water at Northshore Park and finishing at Town Green Park, which will serve as the transition area.

Athletes will then head out on a 2-loop, 56-mile bike course that will take them west through The Woodlands before heading north and northwest out through Dacus and Dobbin out to Richards before returning back to transition.

The final portion of the race will be a two- or three-loop marathon course entirely within The Woodlands that will conclude with spectacular and emotional finishes on Market Street.

Jon Walk covers running locally and throughout Texas and the Southwest and can be reached at walksports@aol.com.

Copyright © 2010 – Houston Community Newspapers Online

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