Archive for Sunday, March 22, 2009

Organizers expect bigger Ironman triathlon

Projected influx of 2,000 athletes for second Lawrence race would boost city’s economy

Athletes crest a hill in western Douglas County during the Ironman 70.3 Kansas triathlon in this June 15, 2008, file photo at Clinton Lake.  The event will return to Lawrence for its second year on June 14.

Athletes crest a hill in western Douglas County during the Ironman 70.3 Kansas triathlon in this June 15, 2008, file photo at Clinton Lake. The event will return to Lawrence for its second year on June 14.

March 22, 2009


Organizers expect a large field — more than 2,000 triathletes — when Ironman 70.3 Kansas returns to Lawrence for a second year.

“After last year, we had a great response,” race director Ryan Robinson said. “People came in, they got to see the city. We got to correct any stereotypes they had of Kansas. It’s not flat. Lawrence is definitely not a sleepy town. Everybody came in, had a great time, and the response is showing that.”

Robinson said the 2009 triathlon is set for June 14.

The event — which involves a 1.2-mile swim at Clinton Lake, a 56-mile bicycle race and a 13.1-mile run — will feature some changes this year. Most events will take place at Clinton State Park, which is closer to Lawrence than last year’s venue, Bloomington Beach, on the lake’s west side.

In last year’s inaugural event, about 1,300 athletes competed. But Robinson said the competition has benefited from a whole year of promotion and registration.

Several events will lead up to the Sunday race. Two races, 5K and 10K, the day before will benefit Health Care Access of Lawrence.

About 55 professional Ironman competitors from around the world are expected here this year.

Robinson said the event, with 2,000 people representing 50 states and 11 countries, should boost Lawrence’s economy.

The Ironman competition this year will include a special military division open to members of the armed services.

And at least five injured members of the military are expected to compete through the program Operation Rebound. The program will allow triathletes competing in the race the chance to raise $1,000 to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and they also get the opportunity to race alongside and meet the wounded troops.

“They really get a boost, and it really motivates them to see how many people come out to support them, not only just cheer them on but directly take an active role in raising money,” said Nico Marcolongo, the Operation Rebound program manager for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.


Richard Heckler 9 years, 3 months ago

The great thing about this sports event is it does NOT require multi-millions upon multi- millons upon multi- millons upon multi-millions of tax payer dollars such that USD 497 is spending.

The city park department is duplicating USD 497 quietly with its' Clinton Regional Park project at Clinton Lake. More and more multi millions. It will take many decades for this to ever payback the taxpayers.

This Ironman triathlon is a great bang for our Lawrence tax dollars and I love the event. It's making wise use of existing resources which is something to celebrate in and of itself. Hats off to the organizers.

Hopefully this will provide younger generations the boost to enter cycling as a sport and realize the value in bicycles as viable transportation as well.

Honeymoons on bicycles is an absolute wonderful experience. It is kind of a triathlon because it can involve hiking and swimming along the way plus some camping.

sustainabilitysister 9 years, 3 months ago

Thanks to Ryan Robinson and other organizers for making this event happen!!!! It's great for Lawrence and the state of Kansas!

TravisTyson 9 years, 3 months ago

Ryan, you're doing a great job. I'm excited for this event as well as the one he is putting together for the Lawrence Half Marathon in April. I for one, will be at both. Rock Chalk.

IBike100 9 years, 3 months ago

The Lawrence 1/2 Marathon is not happening this year. You're talking about a new event, the Kansas Marathon.

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