OCEANSIDE — Oceanside will host 2,500 athletes for the IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside April 1. The destination race draws competitors from 42 states and 28 countries.
The swim, bike, run competition begins at 6:40 a.m. with a brisk 1.2-mile swim out of Oceanside Harbor.
Then contestants get on their bikes to ride a 56-mile loop through Oceanside and Camp Pendleton.
The race finishes with athletes running 13.1 miles along the coast and ending at the Oceanside Pier.
Best completion times are under five hours.
Top male athletes to watch are last year’s winner Lionel Sanders of Canada, and previous champions Jan Frodeno of Germany and Andy Potts of U.S.A.
Leading female athletes to keep an eye on include Heather Wurtele of Canada who finished first in two years.
Other top contenders are Holly Lawrence of Great Britain, Heather Jackson of U.S.A. and Meredith Kessler of U.S.A.
Race director Gina Thomas said every race competitor has a story. She said some of the most inspiring reasons to compete come from local military who want to put their energy toward a positive accomplishment and make a difference.
Many athletes compete in honor of a loved one, to celebrate overcoming an addiction or to bring awareness to a cause. The race’s motto is anything is possible crossing the finish line.
During Saturday’s triathlon, spectators can get a great view of swimming and cycling transitions at the harbor.
There will be shuttle service to the harbor from the Civic Center parking lot.
The finish line for the final run course is at Oceanside Pier. Awards will be given at the Oceanside Pier amphitheater.
There will also be an IRONMAN festival village on The Strand, which will feature food trucks and vendors. It will be open March 30, March 31 and April 1.
An IRONKIDS fun run will be held March 31, with kids ending the race across the IRONMAN finish line.
Race road closures and detours will be posted. Police will assist pedestrian crossing in some locations. Roadways will fully reopen in the evening.
The local IRONMAN competition has been held for 18 years.
It began as a full IRONMAN race held at Camp Pendleton its first two years.
In 2002 the city of Oceanside took over hosting the race and shortened it to 70.3 total miles. The IRONMAN Foundation raises money for local charities.
This year a generous $25,000 will help area nonprofits.
This story has been corrected since its original posting. The story contained an incorrect number of athletes participating in the race.