Biker accelerates through second leg of the triathlon. (Andrea Clemett/ Lariat)
International athletes compete to qualify for World Championship Race
Athletes of all ages competed in an Ironman 70.3 pro race in Oceanside on April 7, in a triathlon consisting of swimming, biking and running. The competition celebrated their 40th anniversary this year with a prize purse of $50,000.
The pro tour has grown globally with more than 200 events across 50 countries, consisting annually of more than a million participants emphasizing endurance sports. Stops this month included Spain, South Africa, Peru, and Brazil. This particular race is categorized as an Ironman 70.3 series, since they perform a long distance triathlon of 70.3 miles.
From the Ironman website viewers would be able to log onto the tracker that provides real-time contestant tracking for each world-class event held during the year. Spectators and athlete Sherpas who performed their duties followed the live map in following each individual by typing their name in the search box.
Participants competed from the U.S., Puerto Rico and international regions such as France, Australia, Germany, England and Canada. Both men and women performed on a staggered schedule. Disabled contestants with leg and arm prosthetics also participated in the event.
The first leg of the triathlon began at 6:40 a.m. with a 1.2 mile swim in 57 degree water temperatures. Due to large surf conditions of 4-foot swells, the swim event relocated to a protected region in the harbor area where participants swam a loop around the harbor.
Athletes then rapidly donned cleated bike shoes and jerseys to proceed on the second leg of the event which consisted of a 56 mile ride. They rode approximately 25 miles north to San Clemente from Oceanside without any speed restrictions. Upon reaching San Clemente, the road curved into the San Mateo campground area and wound throughout the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Officials cautioned riders not to ride over 25 mph or they would be ejected from the race due to safety concerns.
The riders displayed camaraderie with one another as they sped by the crowds of fans and supporters. Riders made comments to one another like, “I like your paint job,” “great day to be alive” and “that water was cold.”
Participants hopped off the bikes and quickly exchanged bike shoes for running shoes for the last phase of the competition. The run consisted of a course of 13.1 miles on the strand path in Oceanside.
The Oceanside winners’ podium for the men’s pro division included Jan Frodeno from Germany who placed first, Lionel Sanders from Canada in second and Tim Reed from Australia in third. Holly Lawrence from the United Kingdom achieved first place in the women’s division, followed by Heather Jackson from the U.S. in second and finally Jeanni Seymour placing third from South Africa.
The events between August 28, 2017 to August 19, 2018 will serve as the qualifying races for the World Championship Ironman held in Kailua Kona, Hawaii on October 13, 2018. Participants’ four highest scoring races accumulated from Ironman and Ironman 70.3 branded races enable professional athletes to earn Kona Points toward Kona-Qualifying Races.
Ironman 70.3 continues racing the following day on April 8 in Texas, Florida and Uruguay. Coverage, results and schedules can be found on the Ironman.com.