Memphis Tourism & Sports Council host pep rally in hopes of luring Ironman to the bluff city

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Memphis Tourism and the Memphis Sports Council rolled out the red carpet for Ironman representatives at Shelby Farms Monday for a pep rally.

It was all in an attempt to show Ironman why it should flip over Memphis. The Ironman Triathlon is considering Memphis for its 2020 event.

“Number one is venue,” explained J.J. Greer, with the Memphis Sports Council. “Different hotels, we have awesome hotels here in Memphis. Overall the vibe and the scene.”

Memphis officials say the revenue from the event would bring in $10-million per year ,and so far Ironman thinks the city has a strong shot.

Eling Gaines got involved in the triathlon scene three years ago. She says if Ironman comes to the city, she would begin preparing within a month.

“I wasn’t a good swimmer, I wasn’t a good biker, and I’m not a good runner, but put it all together and I can do it,” said Gaines. “The community here, they don’t care how fast I go.”

The Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a marathon.

“Every course is different, conditions are always different,” said triathlete Dana Sjostrom, who also competes in Memphis. “So you always have to race what your particular goals are that day.”

The city is up against Des Moines, Tulsa, and Fayetteville for the event’s destination.

“Hyde Lake here is built for a swim course,” said Keats McGonigal, Ironman’s senior regional director. “We were out here touring some of the potential bike course today, and the paved running trails would be amazing to host an Ironman marathon.”

Ironman will make an announcement by mid-June on which city will host next year. The triathlon is set for late spring or early summer.  

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