- Ironman day has arrived (06-15-08)
- Expo sets tone for Ironman competition (06-14-08)
- Ironman set for early kickoff (06-12-08)
- Cardiologist prescribes test of endurance (06-09-08)
- Downtown street to close for Ironman party (06-04-08)
- Proving their mettle (06-01-08)
- Racer shows professional grit (05-18-08)
- Ironman Kansas
The festivities began with a fun-filled, energy-driven concert in downtown Lawrence on Friday night.
It continued with registration and mandatory meetings about the course and the race on Saturday.
And it will end today - for some after an incredible pace of 17 miles per hour, for others a grueling seven or eight hours after it begins - when more than 1,500 competitors from all over the world cross the finish line at Clinton Lake's Bloomington Beach.
Welcome to the Ironman 70.3, Kansas style.
The race, one of 28 worldwide - 11 of which take place in North America - begins at 6:45 this morning, with a 1.2-mile swim through the waters of Clinton Lake. From there, competitors will make the transition to a 56-mile bike ride through the hilly terrain of rural Douglas County.
Finally, participants will finish with a 13.1-mile run that ends where the whole thing began at Bloomington Beach.
The race found its way to Kansas partly through the vision of Lawrence native Ryan Robinson, a co-director of the event. Robinson, along with several other community members eager to put Lawrence on the triathlon map, began making preparations for the event immediately upon hearing about its inclusion in the series.
"Obviously, I'm a little biased, but I thought Lawrence would be a great place to have it," Robinson said. "We have a pretty storied history of hosting these kinds of athletic events, from cycling to cross country."
In all, competitors from each of the 50 states along with eight different countries will compete in Ironman Kansas. Robinson said many triathletes had voiced light-hearted skepticism about whether a course in Kansas could stack up against the most recent sites in Idaho, Hawaii, Maryland and Switzerland. But Robinson isn't worried.
"I don't think people are expecting this one to be that tough, but I think they'll be a little surprised," he said.
In addition to big-name athletes such as Craig Alexander (2006 world champion), Simon Lessing (5-time world champion) and Torrenzo Bozzone (champion of last week's Ironman Boise), the field will feature a handful of locals.
The cream of the crop is expected to finish in about four hours.
Those interested in following the race online can log on to www.ironmanlive.com. A recap of the event will be available online here at www.ljworld.com later today. Results will be posted as soon as they become available.