Steve DelMonte said that the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City, presented by DelMoSports, was "everything we've been working for."
DelMonte, the head of DelMoSports, is the race director of the triathlon, which will begin at 6:50 a.m. Sunday at Bader Field with a 1.2-mile swim in the Atlantic City intracoastal. The race continues with a 56-mile bike leg through various parts of Atlantic County. The final leg is a 13.1-mile run on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, with the finish line at Boardwalk Hall.
"This is a world-class promotion with 3,000 signups, a sold-out event," DelMonte said. "It's not like anything we've done before. There are no pros, but it'll have the best age-group triathloners."
More than 40 percent of the signups for the Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City have come from women.
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"There are hundreds and hundreds of women who will compete," DelMonte said. "There are over 180 triathlon clubs in the Mid-Atlantic region, and two of the largest in New Jersey are all-women's clubs, the Mullica Hill Women's Triathlon Club and the Jersey Girls. There will be many locals. More than 1,400 of the competitors will be from New Jersey."
The Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City event will be much bigger in participation and distances than this year's Atlantic City Triathlon, which was also a DelMoSports production.
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DelMonte said that triathlons have been growing in popularity since about 1980 and really took off since 2000. He said that the sport's presence in the Olympics has added to its growth.
"There's nothing like doing a triathlon when you're approaching the finish line after all the effort you've put in," DelMonte said. "There's nothing like surrounding yourself with so many goal-oriented people. It's not just swimming, biking and running. There's really good energy and you can feel it."
DelMonte said that the Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City will have 50 qualifying spots for the Ironman 70.3 world championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in September 2017.
He estimated that the overall event will mean about $5 million in revenue for Atlantic City and the surrounding communities.
"Everyone has been great," DelMonte said. "I really want to thank the city of Atlantic City and Atlantic County Emergency Management."
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The route of the race will be scenic for the competitors.
"It'll change the perception that people have of the area," DelMonte said. "They'll pass Christmas tree farms, vineyards, all kinds of things."