Juneau, Alaska will serve as the newest host venue for a full-distance IRONMAN® triathlon. The inaugural event is scheduled to take place on Sunday, Aug 7, 2022, with general registration opening on August 23.
“Hosting an IRONMAN event in Alaska has never been done before and we are beyond excited to partner with Travel Juneau to showcase the unbelievable destination that Juneau is,” said Dave Christen, Regional Director for The IRONMAN Group.
“This world-class host city will demonstrate to the IRONMAN community a truly Alaskan experience at every turn. Native to the Juneau region are the Tlingit people and they share a value called Haa Latséeni which means, Strength of Body, Mind, and Spirit. This aligns well with what it takes to be an IRONMAN athlete and that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Not many people know Juneau is just a short two-hour flight from Seattle. Come and see for yourself, it’s amazing!”
The local Tlingit people have a rich and beautiful history in Juneau and a local artist, Crystal Worl, was commissioned to create the IRONMAN Alaska logo. Her local Juneau business, Trickster Company, is a great place to dive into this beautiful formline art technique highlighted in the new event’s identity.
“I am thrilled to share Tlingit art & cultural values on Áak’w Ḵwáan territory,” said Crystal. “The salmon symbolizes the strength, resilience, and endurance it takes for the journey home to spawn. It is this salmon that brings nitrogen and nutrients from the deep ocean to our land, which has enabled our land to become as lush and green as it is! It is with great honour I am able to create the IRONMAN logo for my hometown Juneau!”
The inaugural IRONMAN event in Alaska will cover 140.6 miles of truly Juneau territory. With a two-loop swim in the beautiful spring fed Auke Lake, athletes will start the day enjoying breath-taking beauty of Mendenhall Glacier in the distance as their sighting line. Once out of the water athletes will use the Glacier highway to head north until the road literally ends at 28 miles from Auke Lake. The two-loop bike course will skirt the edge of the stunning coastlines of Juneau. The run course will utilize two historic trails in the area to include Montana Creek, as well as running a loop around Auke Lake and using the Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei trail to get back to transition and onto their second lap.
“Travel Juneau is thrilled to welcome IRONMAN to our community,” said Travel Juneau President & CEO Liz Perry. “We have a physically active, adventurous population and a surprising number of community groups in the running, trail running and cycling worlds. With over 250 miles of trails, combined with our mild coastal climate and the stunning Tongass National Forest, Alaska’s capital city is a terrific destination for IRONMAN. We look forward to working with IRONMAN, our hospitality partners, and the City & Borough of Juneau to make the 2022 competition a success.”
Juneau is unique among the 49 U.S. capitals on mainland North America in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of the state nor North America. The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city. This in turn makes Juneau a de facto island city in terms of transportation with all goods coming in and out by plane or boat, in spite of the city’s being on the Alaskan mainland. Downtown Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island and sits at sea level, below steep mountains about 3,500 to 4,000 feet high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; two of these, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Ptarmigan Glacier, are visible from the local road system.
Juneau’s lively downtown is compact, easy to navigate on foot and always a favorite with guests to visit historic sites, local shops, and pubs. Just a short drive from downtown, one of the city’s most iconic sites sits at the edge of a residential neighborhood: Mendenhall Glacier. The glacier sits within the Tongass National Forest – the largest national forest in the United States. Additionally, whale watching tours are a popular way to see the diverse marine life in the area.
“The City & Borough of Juneau is delighted that Juneau has been selected for an IRONMAN competition,” said Mayor Beth Weldon. “The 2022 event will be a great way to celebrate the city’s emergence from the impacts of the pandemic, and we extend a warm welcome to IRONMAN athletes, staff, and fans.”
General registration for the inaugural 2022 IRONMAN Alaska triathlon will open on Aug. 23, 2021. The event will offer qualifying slots to the 2022 IRONMAN World Championship® in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.