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The Woodlands Iron Girl

Posted by Woodlands Traveler on March 10, 2013 in Recreation |

From the ‘how many would you tolerate’ and the ‘didja know’ department –

Did you know that The Woodlands Township Board of Directors recently almost voted on whether or not to host an “Iron Girl” (3 year plan type) event in The Woodlands to begin this fall? This event is (as the name describes) the female version of The Iron Man event, which is a the halfway mark on it’s 5 year Run through The Woodlands. The race is officially known as “Iron Girl,” and would be held on a Sunday in October, 2013 then in November in 2014 and 2015, with an estimated completion time of 10:30 AM. At the most recent board meeting, the primary concern regarding the road route is that it would pass near one of the largest churches in The Woodlands. Depending on the route, this could be either Lake Woodlands Drive, Lake Front Circle the major thoroughfare, Grogan’s Mill Road, or some combination thereof.

The Woodlands Iron WomanHere are some key facts from the World Triathlon Corporation Iron Girl presentation to The Woodlands CVB:

  • Three-year event starting October 6, 2013, second and third events in November (11/2/2014 & 11/1/2015).
  • The Iron Girl Triathlon consists of a 1.5-mile swim, a 15-mile bike and a 3-mile run.
  • The event is expected have 2,000+ participants.
  • Creates an opportunity for residents of The Woodlands to participate right at home.
  • Creates an opportunity for local hotels and retail businesses to generate sales which benefits The Woodlands Township in sales tax collection and hotel tax collection.
  • Creates an opportunity to create additional name value of The Woodlands being a “fit” community.
  • Iron Girl events provide women with a competitive platform, unique amenities and a fun and comfortable environment to set and reach their fitness goals.
  • Hundreds of volunteer opportunities for residents and businesses of The Woodlands to participate in the event
  • Iron Girl began in 2004 with two events, and currently has 18 events nationwide. The Woodlands is one of the [more than] 20 events planned for 2013.
  • This would be the only Iron Girl event in the Greater Houston market.

We know that when the event was initially presented to The Woodlands CVB on January 8, 2013, and subsequently to the Township Board on January 17, 2013, without a specific date included but with an option for either Saturday or Sunday during the first weekend in October. The vote to host the Iron Girl event was then tabled at each subsequent board meeting through early March, and is currently scheduled to be voted upon March 21, 2013. The plans are expected to be updated with route information at that time. According to the Iron Girl presentation, “venues for Iron Girl could include Northshore Park, Lake Woodlands, The Woodlands Waterway, and Town Green Park.” Exactly why or when the decision to hold the race on Sunday was made is unclear, however, Sunday was chosen at some point during this process as the Feb. 27, 2013 agenda calls for it as below:

• “Tabled a Host Venue Agreement with World Triathlon Corporation¹ regarding the proposed [Woodlands] Iron Girl event with a proposed date of Sunday, October 6, 2013 (The Board is schedule to make final decision at its Thursday, March 21, 2013 meeting scheduled at 9 a.m.)”

Board members Ed Robb and Mike Bass agreed that “..the number of similar [race] events in the community is an issue,” and “the race [Iron Girl] would be on Sunday…” Specifically, Board member Ed Robb pointed out routing traffic via Lake Woodlands Drive, and/or possibly the stretch of Lake Front Circle that connects Grogan’s Mill Road with Lake Woodlands Drive around “one of the community’s largest churches” – The Woodlands United Methodist Church, where Robb is senior pastor – could possibly cause problems for “thousands” of parishioners and visitors. Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said he wants to work with Iron Girl officials and the township to bring the event to the community without affecting residents. The Precinct 3 Commissioner’s Office maintains the roads in The Woodlands and would be involved with helping with road closures. Additionally, there were concerns regarding area resident tolerance levels of the addition of a ‘similar’ event; this would be the “fifth event like this in just over a seven month period,” according to Bass. Technically, it would be the sixth such event, in period just over nine months – and that’s just in Town Center. It would bring the annual total to seven similar events in The Woodlands in that same time frame, when you add the Muddy Trails races held in Village of Creekside Park.

Perhaps residents of Village of Panther Creek – and the community as a whole – might consider voicing their opinion about having another race (or road closure event, depending on your point of view) to the Township, or their favorite Board Member, in an effort to help them to make a better-informed decision. To our knowledge, the Township has not requested any resident input regarding the Iron Girl event.

The Woodlands Township Board of Directors meeting schedule usually consists of one board meeting, typically held at 9:00AM on the third Thursday of every month, and one board meeting, typically held at 6:00 PM on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Both meetings are held at offices of The Woodlands Township, 2801 Technology Forest Boulevard, and are open to the public. In accordance with state law, meeting notices are posted at least 72 hours in advance. This posting occurs at the Montgomery County Courthouse, inside the boundaries of the Township at its office building, and on The Woodlands Township website.

Current Iron Girl venues include: Atlanta, GA (triathlon), Austin, TX (triathlon), Bloomington, MN (duathlon), Cherry Creek, CO (triathlon), Clearwater, FL (1/2 marathon & 5K run/walk), Clermont, FL (triathlon), Columbia, MD (1/2 marathon & 5K run/walk), Columbia, MD (triathlon), Del Mar, CA (10K & 5K run/walk), Fountain Hills, AZ (10-Mile & 5K run/walk), Lake Las Vegas, NV (triathlon), Lake Zurich, IL (triathlon), Pleasant Prairie, WI (triathlon), Rocky Gap, MD (triathlon), Sandy Hook, NJ (triathlon), Seattle, WA (triathlon), Syracuse, NY (triathlon), Webster, MA (triathlon).

Iron Girl Triathlon event markets in the planning stages include: Canada, Chicago, Houston, Northern California, and outside New York City.

March 28, 2013 After suffering just over two months of postponing a vote, The Woodlands Township no longer has the opportunity to host and Iron Girl event as the World Triathlon Corp. has withdrawn their offer.

¹ The Iron Girl® Event is licensed by World Triathlon Corporation.

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4 Comments

  • Jon Walk says:

    So, are you for it or against it? And why?

    How would you help them make a better-informed decision?

    And, actually, Mike Bass, on the Township Facebook page, did seek input on January 18.

  • Woodlands Traveler says:

    Hi Jon,

    Our intent was not to put forth an opinion but to get feedback from our readers.
    We hoped to assist the board in making a better informed decision by encouraging our readers to voice their feedback regarding this and other similar events in The Woodlands, to the board.
    Thanks for letting us know about Mr. Bass’ post, as it was on his personal page, we felt it was not a request for public opinion as one placed through official channels would have been.

  • Donny says:

    Definitely sounds like you are not neutral and lean towards not having another event in The Woodlands. If you look at how our community has been developed, it is focused around getting outside and being active. Look at the quantity of trails and park, and the dollars spent by Parks and Pathways budget. It is a generally fit community, that seeks events such as these ( hense all of the sold out events hosted ). Approve it. Host it. Support it.

  • Jon Walk says:

    Word is that it is still going to get done, but not in The Woodlands Township. Some other community – maybe even very, very close – will see the economic benefit.

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