Ironman St. George, which was announced in 2009 and took place for the first time in 2012, will be converted to an Ironman 70.3 Series event starting in 2013. The event which sold out its first year was described by most who participated as very difficult and challenging. Unlike other Ironman races in North America which sell out the same day registration opens, this race never achieved that again after its inaugural year.
In a candid conversation with someone from the World Triathlon Corporation in Kona, Ironman St. George was described as probably being the toughest race on the Ironman circuit, even harder than Ironman Lanzarote.
The early season race with scenic views and challenging course failed to attract the participants. Not even a change to the very difficult run course helped this year. It surely wasn't a race for the faint of heart. In comparison, Ironman Brazil which takes place a few weeks later in May has sold out the last couple of years. While the majority of people that register for the race are from South America, many American and foreigners participate. They still go even if it means traveling about 18-20 hours one way to get there, for the Americans. Yes, it has a smaller field size, in the 1,800 to 1,900 range, but still.
The 2012 Ironman St. George race will still take place on Saturday, May 5th. It will be a memorable day for those triathletes that go, participate and conquer the tough course St. George has to offer and they will be the last to do so.
Read the complete announcement from Ironman below:
Today, Ironman announced changes to Ironman St. George. Starting in 2013, the event will be converted to an Ironman 70.3 and will consist of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.
"We've listened to our athletes and they've told us that while they love St. George -- the people, the community and surroundings -- St. George does not work for them as a full-distance Ironman," said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman. "Our belief is that St. George will flourish as a 70.3 and we are pleased that we are continuing our relationship with St. George and with the state of Utah."
The swim course will follow a shorter loop through Sand Hollow Reservoir, the bike route will lead athletes along Red Hills Parkway through the brilliant scenery of Snow Canyon State Park, and the half-marathon will take participants up Red Hills Parkway and back. The finish line will still be located at Town Square.
"We welcome this new race as a continuation of the momentum we've started with Ironman St. George," said Kevin Lewis, Director of Sports Marketing with the St. George Convention and Tourism Office. "We estimate that the economic impact to our community will be similar to that of a full-distance Ironman, while the cost of hosting and the need for road closures and necessary services is reduced."
One of nearly 60 Ironman 70.3 events worldwide, Ironman 70.3 St. George is set to take place on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Athletes will compete for a professional prize purse of $15,000 and 75 age-group qualifying slots for the 2013 Ironman World Championship 70.3 scheduled for September at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev.
For more information on Ironman 70.3, visit www.ironman.com. Maps and other Ironman 70.3 St. George event information will be available starting June 1 on www.ironmanstgeorge.com. In the interim, visit www.atozion.com/ironmanstgeorge for important event details. Media-related inquiries may be directed to Jessica Weidensall at Jessica@ironman.com. For St. George area impacts contact Kevin Lewis at Kevin@AtoZion.com.