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Greater Waco Sports Commission and City of Waco sign 7 year extension for IronMan Triathlon

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 12:17 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Greater Waco Sports Commission and the City of Waco held a special ceremonial signing on Tuesday to mark the seven-year extension with Ironman to host an annual “IronMan Festival” in Waco.

IronMan’s contract extension with Waco includes both a full and half IronMan race each fall.

“It’s huge,” Nancy Goodnight, Volunteer Coordinator and an IronMan finisher, said.

“For one thing, it’s the most recognized name in triathlons and the multi-sport industry exponentially, but to have them sign a seven-year contract, it’s a huge statement about what we have done so far.”

Both events will have athletes swim down the Brazos River. Once out of the water, athletes will traverse through the Texas countryside of rural Waco both on the bike and on the run course.

“It means so much,” Katie Messerall said.

Messerall is a mom and a local assistant school principal who was the first Waco resident to cross the finish line at last year’s event.

“I love Waco, I love this town, I love that we get to share it with people,” Messerall said.

“Doing this race does amazing things for the community, for the economy, for putting Waco on the map in such a positive way.”

Messerall says she will be returning to compete in the race this year.

The “IronMan Festival” will be held Oct.15 followed by IronMan 70.3 Waco on Oct. 16.

Greater Waco Sports Commission Executive Director Mike Vogelaar and Waco Mayor Dillon Meek were in attendance for the signing Tuesday.

According to Vogelaar, 2021 was the first time ever in North America that a city had hosted an “IRONMAN Festival” with the IRONMAN Waco and 70.3 IRONMAN triathlons

“With an event like this, we want to make an impression on the entire community; economically but in the lifestyle,” said Vogelaar. “We’re committed to winning a win-win for everybody.”

“I want to say how thankful we are for our partnership with the Greater Waco Sports Commission,” said Mayor Meek.

Meek was also thankful for the work of the volunteers and the whole Waco community.

“IronMan does a really good job, they have a great model in giving back to their community through volunteer grants,” Goodnight said.

“Last year we put $45,000 of grant money to nonprofit organizations. We had 11 different schools, seven public districts, both colleges, as well as private schools all received some form of grant money.”

Meek also discussed how the extension will help the city improve economically and community development.

“I know sometimes given the routes, it can impede peoples daily routes,” Mayor Meek said.

“The city and all of our partners are really committed to making sure we are thoughtful about how we can do that and improve strategies around that.”

City officials said the races bring thousands of participants to Waco, not only for the competition, but also for race preparation throughout the year.

“We want to make it a destination for triathlons,” said Vogelaar.

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