Fayetteville was named as one of four finalist cities in the running to host a new annual Ironman triathlon event beginning in 2020.
Ironman organizers today on a Facebook Live video announced plans to add the new event to the annual series. It will be the first new full-distance Ironman location in North America since 2014 when Chattanooga, Tennessee was added to the annual calendar.
Other cities named as finalists include Des Moines, Iowa; Memphis, Tennessee; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“We’ve been looking at the central U.S. for some time now, and felt it was the right time to bring a new event in this area,” said Beth Atnip – vice president of global operations of Ironman.
The city’s natural areas and parks, as well as more than 40 miles of paved and natural trails were among the features that attracted organizers to Fayetteville.
“Fayetteville is the entertainment capital of Northwest Arkansas, with its thriving arts scene, legendary live music and nightlife, culinary treasures and endless events and attractions for all ages,” Ironman officials stated in a news release. “Consistently named one of the nation’s best places to live, visit or retire, Fayetteville offers the small-town feel that Arkansas is known for, yet has a wide range of exciting attractions.”
There are 41 Ironman locations across the globe where professional and amateur athletes compete in order to qualify for the world championship event held annually in Kona, Hawaii.
Ironman races are considered to be one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.22-mile marathon run. The swim, ride and run are raced in that order and without a break.
Atnip said the plan is to make a final decision on the new location sometime in mid-June.