In 2007, the first Hy-Vee ITU World Cup was held in Downtown Des Moines winding up the front of the Iowa State Capitol drawing more than 2,000 Elite and age-group athletes to participate. The event raised $250,000 for charity as Rasmus Henning of Denmark and Laura Bennett of USA took home the inaugural titles.
Two months prior to the Beijing Olympic Games, the US qualifying event for the games was held at West Des Moines, the site of the 2008 edition of the race. Due to terrible flooding in Des Moines area it was situated seven miles outside the State Capitol. Henning won the men’s competition for the second time while Emma Snowsill took the women’s top awards and win the gold in Beijing. Top finishers for the USA were Hunter Kemper and Sarah Haskins earning slots to the Beijing Olympic Triathlon.
In the 2009 competition showcased the most thrilling race ever, with Simon Whitfield of Canada finishing first for the $200,000 prize purse. The event featured a five-way sprint to the finish in the men’s category, dubbed as the “Race of the Year” by Triathlete Magazine. Emma Moffatt of Australia on the women’s side of the race made her grade on her near perfect 2009 season. She won in the West Des Moines setting a new course record.
The on-going drive of Hy-Vee in promoting good health nutrition in its stores offers a wider selection of organic foods, trained dietitians to assist consumers with menu programming and health fairs. The race was the main feature in Hy-Vee’s sponsorship of the 100 day Live Healthy Iowa Challenge involving other internal and community ventures.
Simon Whitfield winner of the 2009 race stated, “The support from the Hy-Vee employees is amazing.” He said that when he looked at the grandstand, seeing all the Hy-Vee employees smile, cheering and clapping, witnessing triathlon at its finest was amazing.
On Sunday June 13, 2010 will open the 2010 Hy-Vee Des Moines ITU Elite Cup triathlon competition.