St. George, Utah (April 30, 2018) -It has become a rite of spring in Southern Utah. Thousands of triathletes, ranging from first-time participants to professional world champions, attack the IRONMAN 70.3 St. George race with gusto while simultaneously enthralled by the natural visual delights surrounding them.
The red rocks and unforgiving terrain of the region will beckon more than 2,500 athletes to the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George, set for May 5.
"We are excited to once again host the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship," said Jeff Robbins, President and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. "It will showcase Utah’s beautiful red rock landscape through the event’s significant media exposure and bring an estimated $8-10 million into the Utah and St. George communities."
The race itself begins at 7 a.m. at Sand Hollow State Park. After completing the 1.2-mile swim in the reservoir, athletes will take on a challenging 56-mile bike course followed by a 13.1-mile run ending in the heart of downtown on Main Street between Tabernacle and 100 South. Everyone is invited to greet and cheer for the athletes as they cross the finish line.
"The quality of triathletes participating in our race is superb. You will be blown away by the dynamic abilities they possess," said Kevin Lewis, Director of the St. George Tourism Office. "This is the 9thconsecutive year St. George has hosted an IRONMAN event and each year it continues to get better."
Many of the pro athletes come to this race looking for something to conquer. Sebastien Kienle, a superstar on the circuit who has logged second- and third-place finishes in St. George, and who has captured one IRONMAN and two IRONMAN 70.3 crowns, still seeks to slay the St. George beast.
"I think people come here because they want to be challenged," Kienle said. "They like the tough course. It’s probably not a course where everybody sets a personal record, but that’s not what it’s all about. I think the experience you’ll have here you won’t find in other races."
The popularity of the St. George IRONMAN 70.3 race continues to grow. IRONMAN 70.3 released its "Athletes Choice Awards" based off post-race athlete surveys and the St. George race ranked in the Top 10 in two categories. The St. George race was tied for second in the "Best Host City Experience" category and No. 5 in the "Best Race Venue" category.
Key facts about the 2017 St. George race include:
- 2,127 competitors started the event
- 79 professionals registered
- 31 countries are represented
- 43 states are represented
- 12,000 estimated race visitors
- Nearly 2,000 volunteers
"IRONMAN events have played an enormous role in bolstering the overall brand and culture of the St. George region since 2010," Lewis added. "Visitors to this event quickly see that beauty and diversity of our landscape is anything but ordinary, which makes a return trip to the region very likely."
About the Office of Sports and Recreation
The St. George Area Sports Commission was established by the Washington County Commission to help responsibly grow the sports and recreation economy in Washington County, Utah, through the promotion and development of sports, and outdoor recreation.