The Ironman 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon will not make its debut until next year.
Ironman announced Friday that the new date for the Roanoke triathlon will be June 6, 2021, which is a Sunday.
The event was to have made its Roanoke debut on June 7 of this year. But Ironman suspended the triathlon last month because of the coronavirus pandemic and Gov . Ralph Northam’s order for Virginians to stay at home until June 10.
It was announced last summer that Virginia’s Blue Ridge had landed a three-year deal with Ironman to host a 70.3 triathlon, with Carilion Clinic as the title sponsor.
According to Virginia’s Blue Ridge on Friday, the three-year deal will not be shortened but will instead be pushed back. Roanoke will now hold the event in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Some Ironman triathlons around the country have been postponed and rescheduled for later this year, but the Roanoke event will have to wait until next year. Ironman said in a news release Friday that it had assessed “all event scenarios.”
Officials with Ironman, Virginia’s Blue Ridge and Carilion Clinic discussed whether to reschedule the triathlon for later this year or wait until next year. Ironman made the final decision.
“We certainly were considering later this year,” Virginia’s Blue Ridge vice president of public affairs and destination development Catherine Fox said Friday in a phone interview. “As the time continues to go on and there’s no real understanding as to where the pandemic will come to an end, it was a very difficult thing to look at [as far as] later in the year.
“I know [Ironman] has their reasons; we just came to the conclusion that it just didn’t make sense later in the year.
“The tourism industry here has been impacted tremendously, so we factored that piece into it, too. For us to really be able to host it the way we know we can, we feel like we need time.”
The Virginia edition of the Ironman 70.3 was previously held in Williamsburg.
The international event was to include a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. The triathlon was expected to draw about 2,500 athletes and generate an economic impact of $9.2 million this year.
All athletes who registered for this year’s triathlon will be automatically moved to next year’s event.
Athletes do not have to do anything at this time for the free deferral to take place.
For athletes who registered for this year’s event but will not be able to compete in next year’s triathlon, Ironman is offering a free transfer to one of six other races that are scheduled for later this year.
• The Ironman 70.3 in Lake Placid, New York, on Sept. 13.
• The Ironman 70.3 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Sept. 13.
• The Ironman 70.3 in Augusta, Georgia, on Sept. 27.