Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater losing Ironman race, but getting a shorter one

CLEARWATER — The Ironman World Championship 70.3, held in Clearwater since its inception in 2006, is moving west to Las Vegas, race officials announced Thursday night.

However, Ironman officials say they're going to replace the Clearwater race with a similar event — a shorter race that should cause fewer traffic problems than the current Ironman route does.

That could ease the blow of losing the world championship, which the Clearwater area depends on to bring in tourism dollars every November.

"You're still going to have athletes coming into the area, bringing their friends and families," said Ironman spokeswoman Jessica Weidensall. Starting in 2011, the Ironman World Championship 70.3 will move to Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev., located just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, World Triathlon Corp. said.

This year's race in Clearwater, scheduled for Nov. 13, starts and ends at Pier 60. It will include a 1.2-mile swim, a 13.1-mile run, and a 56-mile bike race that meanders through much of mid Pinellas County. The bike race inevitably causes complaints from drivers who are inconvenienced by road closures.

Next year, the current Ironman race will be replaced in Clearwater by a new race tour that will feature the Olympic-distance triathlon.

The 5150 Series will feature a 1.5-kilometer swim, 10K run and 40K bike race. "Given the shorter distance of the event, it should lessen the need for road closures," Weidensall said.

The Ironman World Championship 70.3 typically brings about 1,500 to 1,600 top-level athletes to the Clearwater area. Weidensall said the 5150 race is projected to bring up to 2,000 athletes to this area because, unlike the championship, they won't have to qualify in other races before competing in the 5150 event.

The inaugural 5150 Clearwater event is scheduled for Nov. 12, 2011. The new race series begins March 13, 2011, in Miami, has a May 1 date in St. Petersburg at the St. Anthony's Triathlon, and is scheduled for 10 other cities before returning for the series final in Clearwater.

"We're grateful to the city of Clearwater for being a fantastic host to the Ironman World Championship 70.3 over the past five years," said Ironman's Steve Meckfessel.

Clearwater losing Ironman race, but getting a shorter one 10/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Want elite college football athletes? Recruit Tampa Bay


    Now that college football watch list season is over (I think), here's one takeaway you probably already knew: Tampa Bay produces a lot of great athletes.

    Robinson High produuct Byron Pringle has gone from this performance in a high school all-star game to all-Big 12 at Kansas State.
  2. What you need to know for Wednesday, July 26


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    A heart-shaped box containing Katie Golden's ashes sits next to her picture at her family's South Tampa home. Katie died from a drug overdose in April 2017. She was only 17-years-old. Read about her parents' journey at [ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times]
  3. Cuban diplomat reflects on U.S. relationship: 'Cuba was treated horribly'


    Few topics are more controversial in Florida than Cuba, a nation that has held fast to Communism despite lying 90 miles from the shores of a capitalist superpower. It's a place where startling poverty results from either a longtime U.S. trade embargo or a half-century of Communism, depending on one's point of view. …

    Carlos Alzugaray spent a half century as a scholar and diplomat for the Cuban government, including a stint as ambassador to the European Union.
  4. Clearwater residents avoid tax rate increase for ninth year in row

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Residents will avoid a rate hike on their property taxes for the ninth year in a row as taxable values continue to recover from recession levels, padding city coffers.

    Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said the city must be prepared for unexpected expenses. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  5. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.