WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - After one year in the Port City, IRONMAN is leaving town.
Less than three weeks after it's first competition in Wilmington, IRONMAN announced the full triathlon will not return to North Carolina next year - however, the half will continue as planned.
In a statement on its website, IRONMAN said:
"After careful consideration, IRONMAN North Carolina will not continue for 2017; we will put all efforts into making IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina a top-notch late season race for athletes. We appreciate the efforts and support of the city as well as our volunteers, partners, and everyone else involved in putting on the dual-event this past year and look forward to continued support for the future IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina event that will continue. We appreciate our athletes' dedication and understand the disappointment that some will have in not being able to race a full-distance event in that location. We encourage those athletes to consider IRONMAN Maryland, IRONMAN Louisville and IRONMAN Florida."
Tom Clifford, who won the race before a disqualification over a wrong turn, is disappointed to see the race go, despite the different dynamic it brought.
"I just know that when you go to a city and you have a bunch of triathletes and runners and people who are passionate about the sport working on the race itself, it just has a different feel," he said. "There was definitely more of a corporate aspect to it this year. Ironman is a huge company - they have races all over the world. And they brought their brand here, and I thought that was cool."