There is only one new Ironman race in the nation. And it’s coming to Waco.
Waco’s Indian Spring Park will be the staging site for the Ironman 70.3 Waco triathlon, slated for Oct. 28, race officials announced this week at a press conference. The new event, the first Ironman race to call Waco home, will take the place of the Ironman 70.3 Austin on the 2018 calendar.
“We are excited to add Waco to our Ironman 70.3 race series and look forward to growing the event in this beautiful and historic Texas community,” Gulf Coast regional director Scott Langen said in a press release. “We are proud to offer this event in such a unique destination that is sure to provide athletes and their supporters a spectacular race event.”
Will Phipps, executive director of the Greater Waco Sports Commission, said Waco’s natural resources led to it being selected for the event.
“We are thankful to be partnering with a world class organization like Ironman, and this race is a perfect fit for the natural venue that we have to offer in the Brazos River,” Phipps said in the press release. “This will be one of Waco’s premier annual events.”
Waco has hosted other triathlons, including TriWaco since 2009. It will also host USA Triathlon’s Off Road National Championships in Cameron Park in June.
What makes an Ironman race different are the longer distances racers are tasked with traversing. A traditional Ironman race spans 2.4 miles of swimming, a 112-mile bicycle ride and ends with a 26.2-mile marathon run. The Ironman 70.3 events, sometimes called half-Ironmans, cover half those distances.
The Ironman 70.3 Waco triathlon will start with a 1.2-mile swim through the Brazos River, organizers said. The 56-mile single-loop bike course will then take athletes through rural Central Texas roads, past Lake Waco and through the Waco wetlands. The first 20 miles will include a gentle, gradual climb with a steady, fast descent returning to downtown Waco. The 13.1-mile double-loop run course crosses over the Brazos River and historical bridges a total of five times.
During the run, athletes will make their way through Cameron Park before heading back to the River Walk and crossing the Washington Street Bridge, where they will start the second loop. After a final run over the bridge, racers will run along the River Walk to the finish line at the Suspension Bridge.
“We have a beautiful river, excellent roads and one of the largest and best city parks in the nation,” Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said in the press release. “Our charming city has a sincerely warm and welcoming personality that the Ironman athletes across the country will fall in love with.”
Racers will be competing for a professional price purse of $25,000, plus 30 qualifying slots to the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France.
Registration for the event will start Dec. 5 at ironman.com.