Today, World Triathlon Corporation announces the addition of Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas to its worldwide IRONMAN Series. Taking place in The Woodlands, located just north of downtown Houston, the event is scheduled for May 21, 2011. The inaugural race will enhance the current IRONMAN calendar, which consists of 25 events around the world in locations such as Australia, China, Brazil and Germany.

"Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas will be a phenomenal race," said Steve Meckfessel, IRONMAN's Chief Operations Officer. "The community's spirit, unique amenities and accessibility make The Woodlands a perfect destination for our athletes and spectators. We're truly excited about adding this event to the 2011 IRONMAN schedule."

An IRONMAN triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run, and athletes must complete the three disciplines in succession within a 17-hour time frame. Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas will offer 65 coveted slots to the 2011 Ford IRONMAN World Championship, taking place on Oct. 8 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Additionally, there will be a prize purse of $100,000 for distribution among the top professional male and female finishers.

"We are very pleased that World Triathlon Corporation has selected The Woodlands for its IRONMAN Texas event," said Bruce Tough, Chairman of the Board of The Woodlands Township. "This distinguished event garners major international exposure and is great for the recognition of The Woodlands."

Nick Wolda, President of the Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau added, "The Woodlands and South Montgomery County are quickly becoming household names in competitive sports events, from the award-winning brand of Ironman to NCAA, college and high school championships. With people from all over the world living and visiting The Woodlands, IRONMAN Texas is a perfect match for our international community."

Participants will begin with a swim in Lake Woodlands, entering the water at Northshore Park and finishing at Town Green Park, which will serve as the transition area. Athletes will then head out on the bike course that will take them west through The Woodlands before heading north to the scenic, rolling farmland of east Texas. The final portion of the race is a marathon course entirely within The Woodlands that concludes with a spectacular finish on Market Street.

"This event will showcase the huge variety of shopping, dining, entertainment and hospitality we have in The Woodlands, and will be very beneficial for the residents and businesses of The Woodlands," said Nelda Luce Blair, Chairman of the Board, The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Memorial Hermann Health System, the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider serving greater Houston, will serve as title sponsor of the event.

A longtime resident of The Woodlands, Steve Sanders, CEO of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, welcomed the announcement for multiple reasons.

"My pride that The Woodlands was selected for this race is matched only by my pride in Memorial Hermann's outstanding sports medicine program. This is a win-win for our community and for Memorial Hermann."

As a major player in the athletic arena, the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute was actively looking to diversify its programs and outreach through a meaningful partnership. Therefore, aligning with the World Triathlon Corporation was ideal in that both organizations' core values revolve around improving the health of the communities they serve and working with athletes to achieve their highest potential.

"With one of the country's top institutes dedicated to sports medicine and human performance in the Texas Medical Center, more than two dozen sports medicine and rehabilitation locations across our service area, and an outstanding team of physicians associated with our sports medicine programs, Memorial Hermann is the leader in sports related medical services," said Walt Lowe, M.D., medical director, Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "We share IRONMAN's interest in helping athletes achieve their highest potential and look forward to working with them to do just that."