An anticipated 2,500 competitors will arrive July 29 in Delaware County to swim, cycle and run a combined 70.3 miles in an Ironman triathlon.
Race director Ken Hammond said the competition will begin at 7 a.m. with a 1.2-mile swim at Delaware State Park. Upon leaving the water, entrants will climb on bicycles for a 56-mile ride that will end at Ohio Wesleyan University's Selby Stadium on Henry Street in Delaware. From there, they will begin a 13.1-mile run that also will end at the stadium.
Competitors must complete the challenge within 8.5 hours, Hammond said. Some entrants will run relays in teams, with an individual participating in only one or two of the three events.
Among many Ohioans, Hammond said entrants will come from about 30 other states and as many as 25 other countries.
This will be the third consecutive year the event has been held in the county.
"The city of Delaware looks forward every summer to Ironman 70.3 Ohio and the chance to host a great event that brings thousands of athletes and spectators to our community," said city of Delaware spokesman Lee Yoakum.
"It takes a true team effort to pull this major event off and we are blessed to have so many great partners."
In connection with the Ironman, OWU will hold a three-day event at Selby Stadium, July 27-29, including an Ironman village and store, said Michael Taylor, OWU's assistant athletics director for operations and student development.
Athletes can sign up at the stadium July 27 and 28, he said.
"There will be a kids fun run on Saturday and then on Sunday morning the triathlon event kicks off at the Delaware State Park for the swimming portion of the competition. ... Parking will be limited within the city, with locations designated at various campus lots and in downtown," Taylor said. "This event will strengthen the community bond in support of providing a great experience for visitors and competitors alike."
The goal is to provide a safe and fun event for the entire family while showcasing downtown Delaware and the Ohio Wesleyan University campus, he said.
"We are grateful to have the opportunity as the host for this first-rate competitive event," he said.
For those parts of the cycling and running courses in the city, Yoakum said, routes will be kept clear by city departments, mainly police, firefighters and public works.
Many streets and roads will have lane restrictions only, with traffic maintained with cones and signs or personnel.
Outside the city itself, affected townships and the Delaware County Sheriff's Office will handle the routing, he said.
The cycling route will extend into Marion County. The running course is a loop on which entrants will complete two laps.
The bicycle-course and running-course maps are attached to the online version of this story at ThisWeekNEWS.com/ Delaware.
Hammond said the triathletes "really do like the hospitality in the city of Delaware and at Ohio Wesleyan" and enjoy patronizing local businesses.
In a vote of Ironman participants, Delaware was ranked the third-best course in the nation in 2017, he said.
"The spectators had a lot to do with it," he said. "The staff had never seen spectator support like they had in Delaware."
Although it's a for-profit operation, Ironman has a nonprofit branch that has donated up to $15,000 annually to as many as 30 central Ohio charities and groups, Hammond said. The recipients have included Scouts, animal shelters and local branches of the American Cancer Society, he said.
Yoakum said volunteer opportunities remain available for individuals or groups. For more information, call Michele Kohler at 740-272-2106.