Myrtle Beach considering bidding to bring Ironman Triathlon to town

mprabhu@thesunnews.comApril 24, 2013 

— If the city of Myrtle Beach has its way, thousands of Ironmen triathletes will be swimming, biking and running through the city next fall.

The city is working with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and a local businessman to place a bid with the Ironman Triathlon to bring the event to Myrtle Beach in September 2014.

The Ironman event – which is seeking to add a location in the southeast – typically draws thousands of participants, city manager Tom Leath said, and consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a run of 26.2 miles with specific time limits for each section.

The city is considering paying a $40,000 bid fee when it throws its hat in the ring, which must be done by April 30, Leath said. The city would pay about $15,000 of that and Leath said the rest of the money is expected to come from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The economic benefit would be worth the expense,” he said.

Dan Berglund, a spokesman with Ironman Triathlon, said there is no official “bid fee” included with the application, but Leath said those trying to land sports events typically include money with the bid.

“It’s not unusual,” Leath said. “A lot of these big softball tournaments that move around the country [also] have bid fees. It’s not uncommon.”

Berglund said Ironman is looking to hold a triathlon in the fall somewhere from Alabama to Virginia. He said the organization aims to make a decision by the beginning of July.

The City Council will consider a motion Tuesday that will authorize Leath to take actions to demonstrate the city’s willingness to work with organizations and bring the triathlon to Myrtle Beach from 2014 to 2018, though specifics still would have to be authorized by the council.

Leath said the bid would suggest to hold the event in the second week of September for five years beginning in 2014. He said local organizers are working on firming up the route, which will be discussed at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Special Events Technical Review Committee in the first-floor conference room at City Hall, 937 Broadway St. in Myrtle Beach.

“It will be incumbent upon us to show Ironman that even though our bid fee may be lower than some others … attendance at events in Myrtle Beach typically swells, versus other locations, because there’s so much to offer,” he said.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at (843) 444-1722 or follow her on Twitter.

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