Ironman St. George….70.3 St. George?!?! Yes, I know it’s all very confusing if you haven’t been in or around the sport of Triathlon, so here’s the long (and 50% shorter) version.

After this week’s 3rd annual Ironman St. George race, Ironman International has decided to convert the race from a full 140.6 mile Ironman event to a shorter, 70.3 mile ½ Ironman. “70.3” is the official branding amongst Triathlon enthusiasts…it just sounds better than ½. Who wants to do, or be…1/2 of anything?!?!? Not many, but the 70.3 event will be KILLER I assure you.

The Ironman St. George course is TOUGH. Arguably the toughest on the planet. This has been part of the event’s Achilles heel. Add to that the fact that they added another full Ironman event last year in Woodlands, Texas…that falls just 14 days after this one, and they essentially cannibalized the St. George race!

Politics aside, St. George can be very successful with the Ironman 70.3 event. They draw more athletes, are easier to complete for said athletes, and create less of an impact on local traffic.

Personally, as a lifetime St. George local who has ridden or run every section of the course, and as an Ironman St. George Volunteer Captain who’s seen the pain up close for 2 years, I might actually attempt the 70.3 whereas I had told my group of local buddies that Ironman St. George may not be in the cards for me with a heavy workload, small kids, etc, etc, blah, blah. I can wrap my mind around 70.3….140.6? OUCH!

Let me close with these thoughts for those naysayers who think this race has “failed.”

  •   Ironman St. George has been known as one of the most scenic, if not the MOST scenic in the international circuit.
     
  •  The local volunteer group has been widely heralded by both Ironman Officials and athletes alike as the finest they’ve ever seen. We have a tradition of giving back in St. George and Utah as a whole. This change certainly didn’t have anything to do with a lack of community support.
     
  • The Ironman St. George course is just plain tough, AND it happens to fall in early May which gives athletes very little time to prepare after colds of winter.
     
  •   This decision was made at the Ironman CORPORATE level, not any local level. Our community has embraced it, and will continue to embrace it in the new Ironman 70.3 format. I guarantee it.

In honor of the final year of the full 140.6 mile Ironman St. George, check out this classic video we shot year 1 about the Ironman St. George course showcasing St. George’s Historic District. If you’re still interested in volunteering, (which is a TOTAL BLAST), reach out to me via email: larkin@gostgeorge.com and we’ll have you join us for the 2012 Ironman St. George.