Chattanooga will host the Ironman 70.3 event in May and become one of 10 cities in the world to host both the full Ironman and the 70.3 event.

“We could not be any happier,” Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak said.

Leaders have made a four-year commitment for the event. 

Mayor Jim Coppinger said that the 70.3 event is expected to have a similar economic impact as Ironman Chattanooga.

Combined, the two events are expected to have a $16 million impact over the next four years, and it’s part of an effort to cement the city’s reputation for being able to produce world-class events. 

“It’s truly an honor to be chosen to host an additional Ironman event,” Doak also said. “Including participants, families and spectators, we’re expecting more than 6,000 people and an estimated economic impact of $3-$4 million annually.”

At Wednesday’s announcement, local leaders joined Ironman officials in praising the city and the success of September’s Ironman event, despite at least one mishap when someone threw tacks in the road to take down bikers. 

But that sort of hiccup is not uncommon, and Steve Meckfessel, managing director for global race operations for World Triathlon Corp., said that part of the reason officials wanted to bring 70.3 here is because of how well September’s event went. 

“It really felt like a 10-year-old event,” he said Wednesday. 

Sunbelt Bakery will be the title sponsor for the event, which will feature running, swimming and biking a total of 70.3 miles.

McKee Foods, the Ironman Chattanooga title sponsor, makes products such as Little Debbie snack cakes and Sunbelt granola snacks. 

The products are made in Collegedale. 

“McKee Foods is so happy to have the opportunity to lend the Sunbelt Bakery brand to the sponsorship of this next chapter in Chattanooga’s Ironman story,” Chris McKee, executive vice president for McKee Foods, said. “Bringing our community the Sunbelt Bakery Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga was an easy decision to make, and we’re proud to be a part of it”

The course will be nearly the same as the one athletes of Ironman Chattanooga saw and will include a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.

The race will start with a point-to-point, 1.2-mile swim down the Tennessee River.

Next, athletes will exit the water and transition at Ross’s Landing before starting a one-loop, 56-mile bike course that will travel through Northwest Georgia, including Chickamauga, which drew good crowds during Ironman Chattanooga. 

Athletes will then begin the double-loop, 13.1-mile run through the Scenic City.

After running through downtown, the Tennessee Riverwalk, Veterans Bridge, the North Shore, Walnut Street Bridge and Riverfront Parkway, athletes will finish at Ross’s Landing.

Updated @ 4:28 on 11/5/14 to add more information.
Updated @ 8 a.m. on 11/6/14 to correct an attribution error: Steve Meckfessel, managing director for global race operations for World Triathlon Corp., said the 70.3 would come to Chattanooga because of the success of September’s event, not Chief Executive Officer of Ironman Andrew Messick, as originally reported.