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Participants struggled to enter the water for the swimming stage of the event due to rough seas. David Hunt/The Journal
Cancelled

Ironman calls off Cork race in 2024 after two deaths this year

Cork County Council has agreed to host the event in 2025, 2026 and 2027.

THE ORGANISERS OF the Ironman triathlon have called off their race in Youghal, Co Cork after two people died at the event this year.

In a statement today, organisers said they would “take a hiatus” from both of their events, the full-distance triathlon and the half-distance triathlon in 2024.

This decision was made after two men, Brendan Wall from Co Meath and Canadian Ivan Chittenden, in August died in separate incidents during the competition this year.

The company said: “The pause will allow for further healing while we spend the next year assessing the best path forward to deliver an exceptional weekend of racing…”

Cork County Council said the choice was made to cancel the event by Ironman only, and it remains “committed” to continue its relationship with the event.

A spokesperson for the council said: “In recognition of the significant tourism and economic importance that the event has to the region, Cork County Council has agreed to host this event again in 2025, 2026 and 2027.”

In September, Cork County Council committed to supporting the event through continuing as its host for the event next year.

Chief Executive Tim Lucey said the event “is of significant tourism and economic importance” to the region, generating an economic impact of almost €20m.

Announcing the postponement today, Ironman said it was “thankful” for the support from the council and is hopeful the event will return in 2025.

Kay Curtain from Youghal Chamber of Tourism and Commerce says the town is coming to terms with the news of the Ironman being postponed but that “it’s devastating for the town”.

Ms Curtain continued that from “February each year we have athletes here training, staying in accommodation”.

“It’s a big blow for the town,” she added.

She reiterated her sympathies to the families of the two athletes who died.

Shortly after the fatal incidents took place, it was revealed the event by Triathlon Ireland’s CEO Darren Coombes said that they did not sanction the race.

Ironman disputed this claim and said the event was only notified of this decision once the swim portion of the race had already begun. 

Lucey in September said that the Ironman organisation has sole responsibility for the hosting of the event and that “this responsibility includes running the event with due care, skill and attention”.

The matter of the sanctioning of a permit by Triathlon Ireland, such that triathlon is run under federation technical rules, is a separate matter between Ironman and Triathlon Ireland, he said.

Includes reporting by Sarah Slater