The Ironman brand has acquired the PPD Beach2Battleship triathlon and half-distance triathlon from the YMCA of Wilmington Inc., according to an announcement Thursday.
Rebranded as PPD Ironman North Carolina and PPD Ironman 70.3 North Carolina, both presented by New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the events will next take place on Oct. 22. Registration opens Friday.
The event brings in thousands of visitors to the Wilmington area, providing a boost to the local economy.
"Any time we have a major sports event they always bring friends and family, so that certainly increases the tourism expenditures. The more people in a travel party, the more spending that’s going to happen in our restaurants and shops and hotels," said Connie Nelson, spokeswoman for the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. "These sports events are very important to tourism."
The first PPD Beach2Battleship race was held in 2008.
“Recognized as one of the Top Long Distance Triathlons by Triathlete Magazine in 2010, we feel privileged to have the PPD Beach2Battleship team and events join the Ironman family,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman, in a news release. “The acquisition of these races furthers our commitment to the Southeastern U.S. and we look forward to growing these two great events.”
The release did not disclose the deal's financial details.
The triathlon features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. The swim starts at the southern tip of Wrightsville Beach, and the race finishes in downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River across from the Battleship North Carolina.
“When the idea was conceived in 2007, our hope was to create an event which would attract triathletes from around the country. And we have been able to do so – thanks to the communities of Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington and Setup Events Race Production. Together, the results have been an amazing win for our community and the YMCA,” Dick Jones, CEO of the Wilmington Family YMCA and co-founder of the PPD Beach2Battleship event, said in the release. “This event so warmly embraced by the community has helped us fund programs and services each year to hundreds of families and children with needs throughout the greater Wilmington area ... Our decision to team with Ironman will enable even more athletes to experience these two great events and our wonderful community, while continuing to give back to our local communities.”
This year, nearly 2,300 athletes participated in the triathlon, according to a previous Greater Wilmington Business Journal story
David Simmons, chairman and CEO of PPD, a global contract research organization that provides services to the biopharmaceutical industry, said in the announcement, “We are proud of the strong partnership we’ve built with the Wilmington Family YMCA as title sponsor of this acclaimed triathlon, and we anticipate the race only growing in stature with Ironman’s leadership.”
Ironman will also offer an event for children, presented by NHRMC, during race week.