So the September 24 bid submission date for IMC2013 has come and gone. And now its time for me to do a quick round up of who has tossed their hat into the ring. I'll try and put together a comprehensive list of municipalities and info here, and if anyone has any other inside info they'd like to share, please feel free to add it into the comments below.
Without further ado, the bids (that we know of);
- Kamloops- Kamloops has tossed their hat in the ring and if you're an athlete in Western Canada, whether your sport is soccer, hockey, swimming, or any other, you've probably been to Kamloops once or twice. Dubbing itself the Tournament Capital of Canada, the city has played host to tens of thousands of athletes over the years and has found a niche in providing hospitality and support for athletics of all levels. Nestled in the heart of BC, a race in Kamloops could mimic the feel of Ironman Canada from years past while keeping a safe distance from Challenge Penticton and not splitting the market. Kamloops would rightfully be a front runner for the race if you ask me. More on Kamloops' bid here.
- Kelowna- Kelowna has submitted a bit and basically had to submit a bit almost by default. Ironman Canada was originally offered to the city of Kelowna some thirty years ago but they turned it down. I'm sure some would see this as an opportunity to make right on that ill fated decision. Less than an hour north of Penticton, Kelowna would be a shoe in for the race and an easy switch for many athletes. The city already hosts the Kelowna Apple Triathlon and the addition of IMC could be a blessing and a curse for Canada's top short course triathlon. My biggest gripe with Kelowna as a potential host it that it really does split the market and puts one race in direct competition with the other. The course would be familiar, and it would be beautiful, but this is one suitor that I'm not so sure of. More on Kelowna's bid here.
- Muskoka- Muskoka with the full support of the town of Huntsville and the surrounding areas has submitted a bit to WTC to host IMC2013. What Muskoka has going for it is its proven track record of being able to host world class events and triathlons including; Muskoka 70.3, Subaru Muskoka 5i50, and a couple of the Multisport Canada series triathlons. Going against Muskoka is its proximity to Mont Tremblant and several other major IM events on the east coast. WTC has expressed a desire to keep IMC in Alberta or BC, but who knows, a lot of those races sell out very quickly and with a strong compelling bid perhaps IMC could go east. More on Muskoka's bid here.
- Vernon - Vernon was one of the first cities to outwardly express interest in hosting IMC. Though the support wasn't unanimous, the city does see the opportunities and exposure that comes with hosting an event of this magnitude. This is one of the smallest municipalities to be submitting a bid and the race would likely draw on surrounding communities for support in terms of volunteers, logistics, and course routing. That being said, Penticton and Vernon are both pretty small towns, and one thing that I really like about Penticton as a host to this sort of event is that the whole town gets right into the race, something I think that would happen in Vernon as well. You can actually find more info on the route specifics from Vernon's bid right here. I like Vernon as a contender but worry that it could be tight for accommodations similar to Penticton, which could be a big strike against. Additional reading on this bid is also available here.
- Victoria- Victoria has submitted a bit put together by SportHost Victoria and Tourism Victoria. The route would be scenic and involve 10 of 13 municipalities in the Greater Victoria area. No stranger to top level sports with athletes such as Ryder Hesjedal and Simon Whitfield calling the island home, Victoria would be a more than suitable host for an event such as IMC. The island has ample accommodations to support a race of this magnitude, though getting to the island via ferry or flight can be awkward for some. With a strong bid, I'd expect Victoria to be a top contender for the race. More on Vic's bid here.
- Whistler - Considered to be an early favourite by many, of course Whistler has submitted a bid to play host to Ironman Canada. With Mont Tremblant's unbridled success as a ski resort hosting an IM and a 70.3, and Whistler's world class hosting of some 2010 Winter Olympic events, its hard to dispute this popular west coast ski resort as a front runner for IMC2013. Though the logistics wouldn't be without challenges as there aren't many large lakes in the area and those in the vicinity can be quite chilly. I've also heard from locals that the transition and spectator areas might be a bit tricky. But IM Coeur d'Alene seems to be able to overcome its issues with cool water temps, and Whistler wouldn't be the first venue that's had to get creative with its transitions and spectator viewing areas. The resort town has no shortage of empty hotel rooms at that time of year, and is outdoorsy as they come, so this could be it. More on Whistler's bid here.
The Mystery City - Steve Meckfessel, managing director of the World Triathlon Corporation, told Vernon's Kiss FM that they received seven bids before Monday's deadline, but he wasn't prepared to name the other contenders. I've listed six of the seven bidding cities here and haven't been able to figure who's the mystery city. Noticeably missing from the list is Calgary. I speculated on Calgary being a contender for IMC2013 a couple of times here and on Twitter and maintain that it would be a good easy fit to play host to IMC based on its existing relationships with WTC, WTC's late penchant towards moving major races to cities, and Alberta/Calgary tourism aggressively marketing the province. but according to Triathlon Magazine Canada, Tourism Calgary did not submit a bid. Is Calgary out of the running? Or with Ironman Calgary 70.3 did the bid go through an entirely different channel?
We'll know soon enough who is on the short list for IMC2013 as municipalities expect to know by the end of this week whether they have made the shortlist for hosting. An official announcement to where IMC will take place next year is expected in early to mid October, I would expect around the timing of the Ironman World Championships in Kona on October 13.
Weigh in on which of these cities you would like to see host IMC2013 on my poll in the right hand column.