OKC goes the distance: City to host triathlon world championships

Monday, March 24, 2014

by David Page

The Journal Record

Oklahoma City has been selected as the site for the 2016 International Triathlon Union Long Distance Triathlon World Championships.

About 900 athletes from an estimated 30 countries are expected to compete, said Dave Wood, president and chairman of Friends of Multisport and race director of the Redman Triathlon.

The International Triathlon Union announced in February that it had awarded the 2016 world championships to the USA Triathlon, Friends of Multisport and the Redman Triathlon.

Competition is scheduled Sept. 17, 2016, at Lake Hefner.

The International Triathlon Union, with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is the world governing body for the Olympic sport of triathlon and other related sports. Triathlon was granted Olympic Games status in 1994 and made its Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000. USA Triathlon is the national governing body for triathlon.

It will be only the third time for the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in the United States. The championships were in Henderson, Nev., in 2011, when more than 900 athletes competed, and Muncie, Ind., in 1996.

In Oklahoma City on Sept. 17, 2016, elite and age-group triathletes will compete for world titles on a 4-kilometer swim, 120-kilometer bike ride and 30-kilometer run course.

Elites will compete for a piece of the $90,000 prize purse, to be split equally between the men and women. The completion will be part of the 2016 Redman Triathlon, one of four races sponsored by Friends of Multisport. The Oklahoma City nonprofit also sponsors the Okie Relays, Angel Fire Endurance and 24 the Hard Way.

“Everyone involved with the races is a volunteer – no one is paid,” Wood said.

The 10th annual Redman Triathlon is scheduled Sept. 20 at Lake Hefner.

The process for attracting the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships Oklahoma started with contacting USA Triathlon, Wood said.

“A guy at USA Triathlon told us he would keep us informed about the process for applying for the world championships,” Wood said. “Then he left for another job and did not tell anyone to keep us informed.”

When Friends of Multisport was informed about the deadline, there was not much time left to apply.

“We found out six days before the application was due that we could apply,” he said. “The net result was that we prepared an 88-page application in six days.”

In January, about 100 days later, Friends of Multisport were told their bid was successful. Friends of Multisport and the Redman Triathlon had a lot of local support in making the bid.

“There are 32 people on the race committee and a lot of them have been with the event for all 10 years,” Wood said.

US Fleet Tracking is the primary Redman sponsor.

While the Long Distance Triathlon World Championship competition will be at Lake Hefner, other activities such as a parade of athletes and an event for the athletes are expected to be at venues downtown, he said.

Major economic benefits are expected in Oklahoma City from the world championships. A lot of the 900 athletes will travel with two people and some will be in Oklahoma City for several days.

“In 2016, I venture that our economic impact will be about $10 million,” Wood said.