The swimmers may get cold feet, but Ironman North America says it has no hesitation about renewing its commitment to Coeur d’Alene.
After two five-year contracts, the city of Coeur d’Alene and World Triathlon Corporation announced an agreement Friday to a third five-year deal that will carry the event into its second decade. Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and officials from Ironman signed the contract Friday morning to cheers from the crowd at City Park.
With that, Ironman Coeur d’Alene is on its third leg, figuratively.
“We made a commitment to this community 10 years ago,” said Shane Facteau, Ironman’s vice president for North America. “It’s a wonderful event for us.”
The current contract was set to expire this year. Facteau attributed the delays to “some hoops you have to jump from a legal perspective,” but said Ironman was “confident it would get done.”
Facteau added that part of the legal delay stemmed from Ironman North America’s acquisition by a private equity group following the previous contract renewal with Coeur d’Alene.
The event has grown steadily, from about 1,400 participants in 2003 to about 2,400 this year despite a few blemishes. Some athletes “can’t get as trained up as much as they’d like” because of the event’s early spot on the calendar, and once here, they’ve complained about the cold water in Lake Coeur d’Alene.
“There nothing we can do about that,” Facteau said, adding that even as Ironman is “straying into larger cities,” Coeur d’Alene has drawn more athletes and their families through its natural beauty and the quality of the volunteer effort from the community.
“It’s where our athletes like to go.”