Athletes will need a mix of determination, training and toughness to overcome the biking, running and swimming courses at the upcoming Ironman 70.3 Ohio triathlon in Delaware.

Athletes will need a mix of determination, training and toughness to overcome the biking, running and swimming courses at the upcoming Ironman 70.3 Ohio triathlon in Delaware.

They'll also need support from a wide array of first responders, local officials and thousands of volunteers working across multiple jurisdictions to make sure the competition goes smoothly.

Officials have been preparing for months for 2,500 athletes and thousands of spectators to descend on central Ohio ahead of the race, which begins at 7 a.m. Aug. 21.

While Delaware will be host to the event, the swimming course is at Delaware State Park north of city limits, and the bicycle course extends into Marion and Morrow counties.

Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski said department officials have been collaborating with multiple agencies for months on a public-safety plan.

"It's fairly complicated, but everyone's doing their piece," he said.

Visitors to the city and the surrounding area on race day can expect to see workers from the city's police and fire departments, as well as the Delaware County Sheriff's Office and Delaware County EMS.

Pijanowski said first responders from Marion and Morrow counties will monitor the portions of the bike race that stretch into those areas, while officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will oversee the swimming event at Delaware State Park.

Pijanowski earlier this month said the collaborative group of agencies were putting the finishing touches on detour and warning signs to inform motorists about the event.

Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore said anyone who needs to travel through the area on the day of the event should plan for some "significant disruptions."

"That Sunday's going to be a unique day to get around for Delaware city and Delaware County," he said.

A full list of area roads scheduled for closure or expected to see delays is available at tinyurl.com/ironmantraffic.

While planning for the event has been complicated, Pijanowski said agencies in neighboring jurisdictions have been eager to lend a hand.

"Everyone has recognized this is a good thing for Delaware County and central Ohio in general," he said.

One key partner for the city during the planning process has been Ohio Wesleyan University.

Workers with OWU's Department of Public Safety will assist other first responders during the event, while the school's Selby Stadium will serve as headquarters for athlete check-in and other events.

Dustin Rudegeair, OWU's facilities director, said preparing for the event has been somewhat complicated by the university's schedule. Students will move in the weekend of the triathlon ahead of the first day of class, Aug. 24.

"Obviously, there's going to be some parking constraints around campus with that many people," he said.

Rudegeair said the university's safety staff will be "flexible" with parents and students seeking parking spots the weekend of the event. He said the competition also will result in a few athletic practices being bumped off campus.

Despite the complications, Rudegeair said OWU officials were happy to be involved in Ironman 70.3 Ohio.

"We always like to (host) events where there's that much exposure," he said.

Sean Hughes, Delaware's economic development director, said he thinks the city has a good chance to benefit from the exposure of hosting the triathlon.

Hughes said he hoped the annual event could help convince developers to bring "more and better lodging options" to the city. He said the event will be a boon to the central Ohio region in part because Delaware does not have nearly enough hotels or other housing for all of the athletes and spectators.

Oddly enough, revenue from lodging taxes will help the city cover costs related to the event.

Delaware spokesman Lee Yoakum said the city has budgeted $4,500 in bed-tax funds to help defray costs related to additional signs and downtown beautification efforts.

Yoakum said despite the size of the event, he expects a number of factors will help the city keep overtime costs down for its fire and police departments. The race stretches into multiple jurisdictions the city is not responsible for patrolling, and thousands of volunteers will handle many minor tasks in place of city employees.

As of Wednesday, Aug. 10, city officials still were asking for additional volunteers to fill slots on the weekend of the race. Race officials have said they expect more than 2,000 volunteers to help with athlete registration, set-up and other tasks at the event.

Among the volunteers will be members of the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President Holly Quaine said the chamber's board sees Ironman's decision to host the event in Delaware as a win for the region.

"We're obviously thrilled that they're coming and thrilled about what it's going to mean (for Delaware County) getting on the map," she said.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@TWGallick