Ironman triathlon coming to western Massachusetts next June

Springfield will be the newest host city for a well-known triathlon event.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 1:48 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Springfield will be the newest host city for a well-known triathlon event.

Who will be the first-ever Ironman of western Massachusetts? That is a question to be answered as soon as next year. At Riverfront Park on Friday, Ironman Group’s Dave Christen and Mary Kay Wydra of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau revealed that Springfield, West Springfield, and surrounding areas will host the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Western Massachusetts Triathlon next June.

“We’re always looking for really great premium locations that we can become partners with and western Massachusetts is a place that we think that we can be for a long time and create a really unique experience that many of you all know in this region to be true,” Christen said.

“Ironman is such a strong, powerful brand. This event is going to raise awareness for our region and will impact our local economy,” Wydra added.

The event will consist of three phases: a 1.2 mile swim in the Connecticut River, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run.

Officials estimate that 2,500 people from around the country are expected to compete, with the chance of qualifying for next year’s Ironman 70.3 Championship in Finland, which put a smiles on the faces of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt. They told Western Mass News that they are excited about the positive financial impact.

“Hotel rooms will be filled to capacity…If [competitors and visitors] have some time early, maybe they’ll go to the Dr. Seuss Museum, maybe they’ll go to the Basketball Hall of Fame, maybe they’ll go to some other attractions or restaurant road down in the city of Springfield,” Sarno explained.

“In the beginning of summer, you may not be thinking about vacationing yet or coming down to Six Flags or anywhere else, but now, it’s like ‘We got to come to this event’…[Visitors] are spending money the whole time because they don’t live here. They’re in the hotels and they’re eating at the restaurants,” Reichelt noted.

Wydra agreed with both leaders.

“We have a calculator that we use and we’ve gauged that right now, our estimate is between $3.9 and $5 million, depending on how many athletes we get and how far they come from,” Wydra explained.

As an added bonus, Reichelt said he will be participating in the triathlon.

“I’ve wanted to participate in a triathlon for years. My swimming probably needs a little work and I got some folks, who are already helping me with that…I want to participate and I think a lot of people will feel like this to test your body, test your mind, put your body at its limits and see how it works,” Reichelt added.

As for Sarno, he will not be competing, but will still be cheering everyone on.

“My playing days are over. My water would be running through the sprayscape here in beautiful Riverfront Park. My run would be maybe a quick pace walk and the biking...I’ll do a hell of a job on a tricycle,” Sarno said.

The general public can register for the event beginning at noon on Wednesday, October 19. The race will occur on June 11, 2023 beginning at the steps to the connecticut river.