They came, they saw, they conquered; photos of the ‘everyman’ Ironman athletes

Ironamn 70.3 St. George competitors on the run leg come through an aid station on Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, May 5, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The sun rose on a crystal-clear morning over Sand Hollow Reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane Saturday as thousands of triathletes gathered at the swim start of the 2018 Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George.

Finishers cool off in the fountain at Town Square Park after finishing the Ironman 70.3 St. George, St. George, Utah, May 5, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The smell of sunblock permeated the air as athletes clad in swim caps and wetsuits made their way to the water for the first leg of their Ironman 70.3 journey.

This year marked the first time in the Ironman 70.3 St. George race that instituted a rolling swim start – in previous years athletes started in waves based on gender and age.

For this year’s race, competitors self-seeded based on their predicted swim time. Age group racers were allowed into the water three racers at a time, every five seconds.

The change was made to give swimmers a safer start and a better swim experience, race director Dave Reid said.

Throughout the course of the day, athletes traversed a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run, beginning in Sand Hollow and finishing in Town Square Park in St. George.

See St. George News’ earlier News LIVE coverage and full wrap report:

The Ironman 70.3 St. George course is known for its difficulty, and temperatures that soared into the mid-to-high 80s did nothing to alleviate the difficulty. Racers at an aid station on Bluff Street along the run course were seen dumping cups of water and ice into their hats and over their heads.

Scenes from the Ironman 70.3 St. George, St. George, Utah, May 5, 2018 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Beyond the difficulty of the race, St. George is also known for the friendliness of the residents and their willingness to support such a large sporting event.

“The people are the most absolutely friendliest people that I have ever been around. I am just blown away by the friendliness of the whole town,” spectator Clint Fesler said.”Everybody is so behind this racing event this weekend. It’s amazing.”

A triathlete himself, Fesler traveled from Houston, Texas, to support his girlfriend who competed Saturday. The pair spent some time driving the course Friday, and Fesler remarked about its beauty and difficulty.

“Number one, it’s beautiful; but number two, it’s super challenging,” Fesler said. “It’s definitely a badge of honor to come do this race and complete it.”

The St. George News team was out on the course from the swim start to the finish and many places in between to capture the athletes as they became Ironman 70.3 finishers.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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