OCEANSIDE — The finish line for the annual Rohto Ironman 70.3 California will be moved to the foot of the Oceanside Pier to allow spectators a better view of the finish March 31. Other changes will be slight modifications to the layouts of the bike and running courses and the addition of an Iron Kids Fun Run March 30. “We moved the finish line to The Strand to give the finish a more champion feeling and more spectator visibility,” Gina Thomas, race director, said.
The race will bring thousands of triathletes to Oceanside to swim, bike, and run the 70.3-mile course.
Among the competitors will be 79 professional athletes. American Matty Reed is the No. 1 seed male competitor and American Heather Jackson is the No. 1 seed female triathlete, Thomas said.
Other professional athletes to watch are two-time defending champion Mirinda Carfrae of Australia and past winner Andy Potts of the United States.
The Rohto Ironman 70.3 California is the first U.S. competition of the season and a high point event for athletes. Competitors earn points for each triathlon they complete during the season, and earn additional points for faster finishes.
The race begins with a 1.2-mile open water swim from the harbor out to the ocean, followed by a 56-mile bike ride through Camp Pendleton, and finishes with a 13.1-mile run along The Strand.
On race day, morning temperatures are expected to be between 40 and 50 degrees with cool water temperatures.
“It’s a challenging course, that’s what makes it great,” Thomas said. “It is an ironman. It tests athletes’ ability, endurance of the elements, and mental capacity. They have the biggest grin when they cross the finish line.”
Two teams of Challenge Athletes will complete the triathlon as relay teams. Nine Challenge Athletes will take on the entire 70.3-mile course. Competitors in the Challenge Athletes division include single amputees and double amputees, some who hand cycle the 56-mile bike course.
“It’s really an inspiring, amazing thing to watch,” Thomas said. “Triathletes come in all sizes and shapes. You just have to be a person dedicated to preparing yourself with training time to build endurance.”
The Ironman California began in 2000 as a full-distance triathlon held in Camp Pendleton. Following 9/11 the race was cut down to 70.3-miles and the swimming and running segments were moved to the Oceanside Harbor and The Strand.
The Ironman World Championship 70.3 takes place in Lake Las Vegas, Nev., in September. The 140.6-mile Ironman World Championship takes place in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in October.
For more information, visit ironmancalifornia.com.