ST. GEORGE — In seven weeks the Ironman 70.3 World Championship comes to Southern Utah, and a part of it will run through the heart of Washington City.
Kevin Lewis, director of the Greater Zion Tourism Office, told the Washington City Council last week that their city “will have a big part in this event.”
Lewis met with the council last Wednesday to give a review of the upcoming weeklong event set for Sept. 12-20.
The Ironman 70.3 World Championship will consist of two races set over two days later in the week and lend to the closure of many streets across Hurricane and Ivins and the cities in between. Washington City will be primarily impacted by the bicycling portion of the race.
Lewis spelled out for City Council the course the athletes would take through their city.
After the athletes are done with the swimming portion of the race, they will get on bikes and ride west around Sand Hollow Reservoir on state Route 7, take a loop around West 3000 South, then make it back onto SR-7 until hitting state Route 9. From there the racers head will east until they get to Telegraph Street.
The racers then head west on Telegraph Street and down Buena Vista Boulevard and Main Street just before hitting Telegraph Street and looping back toward Buena Vista Boulevard and then down the new extension of Washington Parkway that intersects with Green Springs Drive. From there the racers will head toward Red Hills Parkway and move into St. George.
“You see the route. It’s a lot in Washington,” Lewis said. “We can’t express appreciation enough for helping us do that. … This will be exciting for the residents because it puts them in the heart of this event.”
With a portion of the bicycle course running though the city, Lewis asked the council for help in promoting the event in the downtown area with activities similar to the annual Ironman breakfast the city has held at the Veterans Park.
“We’re hoping the city can make some kind of activity there and draw people in,” he said, adding they want to see as many people as possible out cheering for the athletes, as well as volunteering.
There will be many ways the city, as well as local businesses and residents can support the Ironman event, Lewis said, noting that those opportunities can be found at Ironman.GreaterZion.com.
Anticipated traffic impact information can also be found on the site.
Related to the traffic details, Lewis said some areas – primarily in St. George – will only be accessible through shuttles.
“It’s going to be a tough week to get around,” he said.
As for how the city may promote the Ironman event, he suggested the council pass a resolution recognizing local volunteers. The Washington County Commission passed such a resolution earlier this year.
The volunteers, Lewis said, is what the athletes really remember about this community.
“I know people talk about the landscapes and everything we have and all that, but the athletes aren’t paying attention to that as they are racing,” he said. “What they do notice are the people. They know the volunteers. They see the behind-the-scenes support and all that. That’s what they recognize. … On race day it all about the people supporting them.”
In is anticipated that Washington City will see the most impact from the Ironman races between 8 a.m. and noon during the two races days.
The Ironman 70.3 World Championship is expected to bring in up to 7,000 athlete and potentially generate up to $25 million for the local community. However, Lewis said while he is optimistic, there are signs the event may not be as well attended as previous ones due to rising COVID-19 pandemic concerns that are putting a damper on international travel.
“It’s going to be a big event,” he said. “I just want to give you a heads up that we are seeing some new signs that maybe it won’t be quite as big as we had hoped for, but we’ll continue to push forward on it.”
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