Make us your home page

Tips to surviving the Ironman race

Runners get a feel for the Clearwater Memorial Causeway bridge while preparing for last year’s Ironman 70.3.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2007)

Runners get a feel for the Clearwater Memorial Causeway bridge while preparing for last year’s Ironman 70.3.


Once again, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship is coming. The triathlon on Saturday morning and early afternoon could make it tricky to get around parts of north and mid-Pinellas County. Organizers are trying to get the word out in hopes that drivers will avoid headaches along a 56-mile bicycle route that runs through Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor and East Lake.

The race

• A 1.2-mile swim on Clearwater Beach

• A 56-mile bike course that goes from the beach as far east as McMullen-Booth Road, south to 82nd Avenue in Pinellas Park, and north to East Lake

• A 13.1-mile run through Clearwater

• Starts and ends next to Pier 60

• Nearly 2,000 elite athletes will compete in the 71/2 hour event, which begins at 7 a.m.

Intersections to avoid

These five in the Clearwater area will be blocked, causing significant traffic delays:

• Coronado Drive at the Beach Roundabout, 3 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Court Street, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

• Belcher Road and Drew Street, 7:15-10 a.m.

• Belcher and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, 9 a.m.-noon

• McMullen-Booth and Curlew roads, 7:30-10:45 a.m.

Driving tips

If you're going north and south, use U.S. 19. Avoid Belcher and McMullen-Booth roads.

Police will help drivers at intersections with traffic signals along the route.

Yield to cyclists at intersections without signals. Bikes have right of way on the course.

Drivers will share multilane roads with bicyclists. On most of the route, cyclists will be in the outside curb lane and vehicles will travel in the remaining lanes.

Where to watch

Spectators can catch shuttles from downtown and Sand Key Park. Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach is a good place to watch the swim, and the Pinellas County Courthouse and the Clearwater Memorial Causeway are good spots to watch parts of the bike and run.


Spectators are encouraged to park in downtown Clearwater and take the shuttles. Downtown parking includes City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave.; Pinellas County Courthouse, corner of Chestnut Street and Oak Avenue; Garden Avenue Garage, 28 N Garden Ave.; and the Municipal Services Garage, 100 S Myrtle Ave.

The run

The run will go from Pier 60 through downtown and into Harbor Oaks and back to Pier 60. Runners will do two loops.

This part of the race will affect traffic on the Memorial Causeway, in downtown Clearwater, and in the Harbor Oaks neighborhood between approximately 9:20 a.m. and 4 p.m. To get to Morton Plant Hospital, use Pinellas Street.

The bike route

Cycling starts about 7:30 a.m. and runs until about 12:45 p.m. Here's where and when to expect the heaviest bike traffic:

• State Road 60 from the Roundabout to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, 7-9:15 a.m.

• MLK Avenue from Court to Drew streets, 7:10-9:15 a.m.

• Drew Street from Missouri Avenue to Belcher Road, 7:10-9:30 a.m.

• Belcher Road from Drew Street to Countryside Boulevard, 7:15-9:40 a.m.

• Countryside Boulevard from Belcher Road to Lake St. George Drive, 7:15-9:50 a.m.

• Tampa Road from Lake St. George Drive to Curlew Road, 7:20-10:15 a.m.

• East Lake Road from Tampa Road to Arbor Oaks Drive, 7:30-10:30 a.m.

• McMullen-Booth Road at Curlew Road, 7:30-10:45 a.m.

• McMullen-Booth Road from Curlew Road to the Bayside Bridge, 7:40-11:10 a.m.

• 49th Street from the Bayside Bridge to 82nd Avenue, 8:15-11:40 a.m.

• 82nd Avenue from 49th Street to Belcher Road, 8:30-11:45 a.m.

• Belcher Road from 82nd Avenue to Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

• State Road 60 from Belcher Road to Clearwater Beach, 8:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Clearwater Beach traffic

Volunteers will begin setting up road closures around 3 a.m. on the beach. Drivers will not be allowed to go south of the beach roundabout. South beach residents and those needing access to and from south beach after 3 a.m. will need to use the Belleair Causeway.

Closed roads

Most roads along the route will have only partial lane closures. Full road closures include the following:

• Coronado Drive from the roundabout to Devon, 3 a.m.-5 p.m.

• McMullen-Booth Road and State Road 580, 7-10:30 a.m.

• McMullen-Booth Road northbound from Curlew to Tampa roads, 7-11 a.m.

• Bayside Bridge southbound from Drew Street to Roosevelt Boulevard, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• 66th Street and Bryan Dairy Road, 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

• Fort Harrison Avenue from Chestnut to Jeffords streets, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Bay Avenue from Druid Road to Jeffords Street, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Magnolia Drive from the Pinellas Trail to Druid Road, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Druid Road from Jeffords Street to Orange Avenue, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Orange Avenue from Druid Road to Turner Street, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Turner Street from Orange to Oak avenues, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Oak Avenue from Turner to Chestnut streets, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information: Go online to or call (727) 562-4636.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4160.

Tips to surviving the Ironman race 11/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 10, 2008 1:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report


    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month


    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts


    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa


    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.