Chattanooga Preps for the 2019 Ironman Triathlon


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Sunday kicks of the 2019 Chattanooga Ironman Triathlon.

The Race is becoming pretty familiar for the city of Chattanooga and it’s not just for the local athletes.

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It’s the event athletes have been working towards for months or even years.

“This Ironman Challenge consist of a 2.4 mile upstream the Tennessee River, a 116 mile bike ride and ends with a 26.2 mile run to the finish line,”says Joeli Poole, News 12 Reporter.

The race will have over 2,000 athletes participating from all over the world.

“We have all 50 states represented, we have people coming from 35 different countries. Being able to come here and be supported by the local community is amazing and that’s what keeps the athletes coming back,says Keats McGonigal, Senior Regional Director for Ironman.

The race will start out with the swim up the river.

There are over 100 rescue kayakers ready to assist an athlete in need.

Buck Meyer, captain of the water safety team says, “Were there as the curb so to speak, if you are running or biking, you can sit down on the curb, were the curb. Come on over to the kayak or we will come to you and let you hold on or work out the issue.”

Last year Ironman signed a five year contract with the city of Chattanooga, and they plan to only make the races bigger and better every year.

This year Ironman will host a celebration party at the finish line the Monday after the race to celebrate all their hard work and preparation.

“It’s a big commitment, it’s a big mental commitment to be able to put all that training into it, but this weekend is about celebration. It’s about them achieving those goals, getting to the finish line, and accomplishing their dreams,”says McGonigal.

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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at


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