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. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday


    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.