New courses for full Ironman St. George set to showcase Washington County

In this May 2019 file photo, professional triathlete Ben Hoffman makes the climb through Snow Canyon State Park during the 2019 Ironman St. George, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2019 | File photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With just under nine months until race day, courses for the Ironman St. George North American Championship have been set. The 140.6 mile triathlon – 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run – will take athletes on a showcase of some of the most spectacular parts of Washington County, race director Dave Reid said.

Participants swimming in the 2019 Ironman 70.3 in Southern Utah, May 4, 2019 | File photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

In May, Ironman officials announced a five-year host venue agreement with Washington County that included the return of a full distance Ironman race to the area beginning in 2020 and rotating between select cities every three years, with the next full Ironman scheduled for the area in 2023.

In between, St. George and the surrounding areas will host Ironman 70.3 St. George in 2021 and 2022, as well as the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2021.

Washington County hosted a full Ironman triathlon in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before changing to the Ironman 70.3 distance, and athletes and organizers alike are excited for the return of the full course.

“We are so excited to bring back an event that has the mystique of the full (Ironman),” Reid said.

The race will take place May 2, 2020, and registration is currently open.

The North American Championship course will include several familiar sections from both the full Ironman and the Ironman 70.3 courses – the swim is virtually the same as the 70.3 course but athletes will do two laps – however, there will be several changes to the bike and run courses.

Reid said the changes are in part due to more available infrastructure that has been built in the area, including the Southern Parkway, which will be a highlight of the bike course for many athletes who live and train in the area.

“I love to train on the Southern Parkway and feel it is a great addition to the course,” Elizabeth Dansie said.

Dansie is a Washington County resident and veteran triathlete who said she is excited to race her second full Ironman on her home course.

Local athlete Patrick Rodgers said he bikes that stretch of highway almost every Sunday and looks forward to having it as part of the course.

Changes to the bike course also include the elimination of a couple big climbs that made the St. George course infamously challenging; however, the iconic climb up Snow Canyon State Park will remain a staple of the race.

The run course is almost entirely new, Dansie said, adding that the changes in the run course were slightly disappointing to her as she was hoping for the challenge of Red Hills Parkway, which had been part of previous Ironman and Ironman 70.3 St. George courses.

Competitors prepare to switch from bicycle riding to running near the transition zone of the, Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship St. George, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Reid said the run should be a little easier, and some of the trail sections on the west side of Washington County should provide athletes with a bit of much needed shade.

For Rodgers, the run course is the part he is most looking forward to, as it will pass just feet from his house, allowing his family and friends to gather there and cheer him on.

While the course shouldn’t be as difficult as previous routes, both Dansie and Rodgers said the new course should not be underestimated.

“There are plenty of climbs that are really going to challenge the athletes,” Dansie said, adding that with the home advantage in her favor, she plans to spend many hours letting her mind and muscles memorize every climb and challenging section.

In mapping out the courses, Reid said that organizers really tried to find a balance between making the course more approachable for athletes and staff as well as allowing more maneuverability for motorists who will need to drive to work or other activities on race day.

“We want everyone to enjoy all aspects of the 140.6 miles,” he said, adding that this race course really showcases the community and its beauty.

The return of the full distance Ironman on a course that is spread out across Washington County will require an incredible amount of volunteers to provide everything the athletes need as they navigate the Ironman experience. Volunteer director Colby Neilson said that it will take approximately 4,000 plus volunteers.

“It is a major undertaking,” Neilson said. “Fortunately, I have been through the full distance race here before; however, the course will be different than those first years, so I have some learning to do in that regard.”

Course maps and turn by turn directions are below:

Swim course map

Bike course map

Turn by turn directions for bike course

  • Exit transition.
  • Turn right on Sand Hollow Road.
  • Turn right on West Dixie Springs Drive.
  • Turn around on West Dixie Springs Drive.
  • Turn right on Sand Hollow Road.
  • Turn around on Sand Hollow Road.
  • Turn right on Sand Hollow Parkway.
  • Turn around on Sand Hollow Parkway.
  • Turn right on Sand Hollow Road.
  • Turn right on state Route 7/Southern Parkway.
  • Turn around on SR-7/Southern Parkway.
  • Veer right to Exit SR-7/Southern Parkway Long Valley/Washington Dam Road.
  • Turn left on Washington Dam Road.
  • Turn right on Washington Fields Road.
  • Turn right on Telegraph Street.
  • Turn left on Washington Parkway.
  • Turn left on Buena Vista Boulevard.
  • Turn right on Cactus Lane.
  • Turn left on Green Springs Drive.
  • Turn right on E. Red Hills Parkway.
  • Stay straight as Red Hills Parkway becomes Snow Canyon Parkway.
  • Turn right on Snow Canyon Drive.
  • Turn left on state Route 18.
  • Turn left on West Center Street (Veyo).
  • West Center Street becomes West Gunlock Road.
  • Left onto Old Highway 91.
  • Left onto Pioneer Parkway.
  • Left onto Kwavasa Drive.
  • Left onto 400 East.
  • Left onto 800 South.
  • Right onto Main Street.
  • Right onto Center Street.
  • Right onto Bluff Street.
  • Turn left on Diagonal Street.
  • Turn right on Main Street.
  • Turn right on Tabernacle Street.
  • Finish at 150 West Tabernacle.

Run course

Turn by turn directions run course

  • Exit transition
  • Turn left on Main Street.
  • Turn left on Diagonal Street.
  • Turn right on Bluff Street bike path.
  • Turn right on West 1250 North.
  • Turn around on West 1250 North.
  • Turn right onto Bluff Street.
  • Turn around on SR-18 after overpass.
  • Turn right onto Snow Canyon Parkway.
  • Turn right onto Snow Canyon Parkway path.
  • Turn right to go under Snow Canyon Parkway.
  • Stay on Halfway Washington Trail.
  • Merge right onto N. Dixie Drive at West 540 North.
  • Turn left on West Mathis Park Place.
  • Run loop around Mathis Park.
  • Turn right on South Dixie Drive.
  • Merge onto Halfway Washington Trail at West 540 North.
  • Turn left onto Snow Canyon Parkway Trail.
  • Turn left onto SR-18.
  • Turn around on northbound SR-18 fly-over ramp.
  • Turn left onto West 1250 North.
  • Turn around on West 1250 North.
  • Turn left on Bluff Street.
  • Turn left on Diagonal Street.
  • Turn right on Main Street.
  • Turn around on Main Street at Tabernacle.
  • Start lap 2.
  • Repeat lap 1.
  • Finish on Main Street.

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

Email: hollie@canyonmedia.net

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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