It's Ironman St. George
Written by: Dan Empfield
Date: Wed Mar 18 2009
The swim will take place in Sandy Hollow reservoir. WTC race official Paul Huddle is, "...a huge fan of one-loop swims," says he, "but we have to take into consideration the final planning of the park." He does note that a one-loop swim is anticipated, and the reservoir is big enough to host a swim of Ironman distance.
The bike course is "on a par with Coeur d'Alene," in difficulty, according to Huddle, "not quite as difficult as Placid or Wisconsin." But the run is another story. While it is all on-road, Huddle says it, "is definitely the hardest of any [Ironman] North American run course.
The ride travels north from the swim venue toward Hurricane, back south to St. George, then onto the 43mi loop. The loop will take you through Santa Clara, Ivins, Gunlock, and Veyo (7mi into the St. George Marathon course). The loop takes you through Snow Canyon State Park, captured in the images attached.
WTC has been in discussions with St. George about an Ironman for over a year. Course designers Huddle and Roch Fry, ex of Ironman North America, were brought in to help about 3 months ago, after the sale of IMNA to WTC.
"We just think we're the perfect destination for this kind of event," said Lewis. "It's health related, those who come and hang out a little while understand. Blue skies, fresh air, the area speaks to the athlete community.
Is the goal to get people to buy property in St. George and the surrounding area? "You know, that's a tricky question," answered Lewis, "because I'm a tourism person. I want you to visit, spend some money, then go home, and then return. Rinse and repeat."
This new Ironman, because of its date and place, will bump against the Wildflower Triathlon, a very popular half-Ironman distance race 25 years running in California's Central Coast. "Some may view see this as a premeditated attempt to put a race out of business," said Huddle, "but no way that's the case. You know how I feel about Wildflower, it might be my favorite event on the calendar. It's got a longer, richer history than any event in the U.S., period. No event WTC puts on is against other races, it's just what's best for the athlete, what fits into the calendar.
Speaking of calendars, the St. George Ironman will be the first North American event on the annual Ironman calendar. This event, coupled with the Arizona race in November, provide the Southwest with bookend Ironmans. Because these races are held in places that feature hot Summer climates, May and November are probably the appropriate months for them to be contested. Online registration is now open for the event.
Brian Smith led from start to finish at the 2009 XTERRA Winter Worlds and repeated his title from 2008. Rebecca Dussault had an almost 15 minute margin to take the women's title. 3.09.09
Ironman races across America, built and run by Canadian import Graham Fraser, pass to WTC. Fraser keeps ownership of Ironman Canada, the one race of the bunch he did not start. 1.06.09
Reviewed by: Jimmy Archer, Mar 18 2009 3:33PM