The world’s top middle-distance triathletes will be lining up on the start line tomorrow (Saturday 18 September) for the Ironman 70.3 Championship in sunny St George, Utah. Here’s what you can expect.
Decorated Olympians and previous world champions have already touched down in the mountainous western state, including the likes of defending world champions Norway’s Gustav Iden and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf.
They won’t have things all their own way, though, as competition is fierce, including the likes of Iden’s training partner and current Olympic Champion Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), plus the USA’s young pro Sam Long. On the women’s side, five-time 70.3 champion Ryf will be watching out for 2021 Ironman 70.3 European Champion Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) and Olympic silver relay medallist Taylor Knibb (USA), both of whom had great races at the Collins Cup recently.
Dubbed the ‘land of endurance’, the rusty red rock-lined roads of St George will test the athletes to their limits. An average air temperature of 29°C and a brutally hilly and shadeless 90km bike course will divide the good from the great come race day.
Starting off with a single-lap 1.9km swim in the barely-wetsuit-legal 22°C waters of Sand Hollow Reservoir, athletes will then set out on an undulating bike course with 1,049m total elevation, taking them along smooth tarmac roads sandwiched between red desert scrubland and past turquoise lakes. To finish, a hilly (394m elevation) two-lap run leg around the crowd-lined roads of St George promises to push competitors to their absolute limits.
With more than 3,000 triathletes qualified to race from over 85 countries and regions, including competitors from all 50 US states, St George is already a buzz of tri activity. Also racing and familiar to regular readers is ‘Super Sam’ Holness, the inspiring 27-year-old autistic triathlete and Kona hopeful from London who recently featured in issue 395 of 220 Triathlon.
“We are thrilled to host the 2021 Ironman 70.3 World Championship race in St George, adding this city to a select list of other top-tier Ironman championship locations,” said Diana Bertsch, Senior Vice President, World Championship Events for The Ironman Group.
“Bringing athletes to compete in a hotbed of endurance sports in St George is exactly what our community needs after the difficult past year – to get back to our roots and celebrate what we do. We look forward to providing the best possible race experience to our athletes and beginning a tradition of championship racing in scenic St George.”
How to watch the Ironman 70.3 World Championship
You can follow all the action and track athletes as they race on Ironman.com. For a live stream of the race, head to the Ironman Now Facebook page at 1:30pm (GMT) on Saturday 18 September.
Top image credit: Getty Images for Ironman