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 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. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home


    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  4. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  5. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion


    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]