ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – Triathletes are arriving in Southern Utah to compete in the 2018 Ironman 70.3.
It’s the ninth year that St. George has hosted the Ironman and it’s kicking off Thursday.
Eric Roberson just arrived in St. George from Kansas to compete in his third Ironman this year all to raise money for an organization called Parker Loves Life honoring a little girl who lost her battle to cancer last year.
“She was actually taught by my wife and other dance teachers at a studio back at home and she got a tumor at a very young age and we actually have people who give generous donations once they meet our team,” said Roberson.
Athletes from 36 countries are registering today. The race begins Saturday at Sand Hollow State Park with a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike course, and ending with a half marathon and a finish line downtown.
“Can’t wait to see the scenery, I’m ready for the red rock and the scenery and see how it all comes together,” said Roberson.
“Great event that brings people from all over the world, and the economic impact is fantastic as well. with about 28,000 athletes registered they bring about three people with them and stay three or four days, and when you add that all up it ends up being $6 or $7 million,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of Tourism with Washington County.
Lewis says there are just as many volunteers as athletes.
“Comforting to help out all these athletes because on race day I’m going to be in the medical tent,” said Volunteer KC Zeeman.
“This community is so hyped about this. Every year they do the same thing. And I think that really speaks to the nature of the people here. They love this event because it’s energizing, they can get wrapped around it and involved in it, and share the connections with these athletes,” said Lewis.
The public is welcome to come on down to Town Square. Friday night there is a St. George Ironkids Fun Run where children will have a chance to cross the finish line. You can register online.
Saturday, you can cheer the athletes on, but look out for road closures.