WACO, Texas – There were no IronMan races last year due to COVID-19, so this is the full debut weekend in Waco – drawing thousands to the heart of downtown.
People have traveled from many different parts of the world – such as Canada, Hawaii – even Wacoans are competing in the courses.
Participants filled downtown Friday, checking into IronMan Village and preparing for the courses.
“It’s been four years since my last triathlon, last IronMan,” says attendee Rudy Navor. “With COVID and everything, I had to take a chance and do something before the year ends.”
With thousands coming to Waco this weekend, roads are closing to prepare for the big races on Saturday.
Waco Parks & Recreation posted a map to their Facebook page, giving the community a heads up about the traffic this event will bring.
They are encouraging the community to have patience.
Waco Parks & Recreation Director Jonathan Cook says residents and visitors in China Spring can expect delays, but not closures.
“A good thing about it is the complete closures of roadways are limited to the downtown area, around Indian Springs Park and the Cameron Park areas,” Cook said.
Cook says there will be over 100 officers working the route to keep traffic passing safely and efficiently.
“We know there can be some backups, but as the runners pass, we’re going to be working people through those intersections and try to keep traffic going as smooth as possible,” Cook said.
He says there are over 2,500 participants and 10,000 visitors expected in Waco.
The races are broken down into three courses – including a 2.4 mile swim course, 112-mile bike course and a 26.2-mile run course.
So what motivates a person to take this kind of challenge?
“I’m just really looking forward to racing in Texas,” says participant Jodee Gamez. “I’m from Texas. I love it. I have a lot of respect for Texas. So I’m excited to see the scenery Waco has to offer.”
“I look to get my medal to show my kids. I have a special kid, so this is for them,” says participant Fabiola Ramirez. “I have two sons, [show them] that everything is possible. This is my motivation.”
The event will take place Saturday and Sunday, and it is open to the public. To learn more about the route and times, you can visit the IronMan website.