Ironman Arizona Course Recon The swim start takes place under the Mill Avenue bridge in Tempe Town Lake. Though Ironman has implemented self-seeded rolling starts at many of 2013 races as part of its SwimSmart initiatives, Arizona will remain a deep-water mass start. Many other elements of SwimSmart will be in place on race day, including in-water warm-up areas, numbered buoys marking the course, and increased safety personnel. Ironman Arizona Course Recon Tempe Town Lake is notorious for dark, murky waters with little visibility. That, combined with swimming into the sunrise, can make sighting and navigation difficult during the first half of the swim. Bring several goggle options to test during your pre-race practice swim. Ironman Arizona Course Recon The three-loop bike course (each loop measuring 37 miles) begins and ends at Tempe Town Lake, traveling past Arizona State University and Tempe Marketplace. These areas are highly populated on race day, with hundreds of spectators lining the roads in support of athletes. Ironman Arizona Course Recon The large athlete roster and condensed physical space (each loop of the bike course measures 37 miles) can make for crowded conditions on the bike course. Still, athletes must keep 7 meters (or 4 bike lengths) between bikes, except when passing. Failure to do so may result in a drafting violation. Ironman Arizona Course Recon Pavement conditions for the entire course are excellent, and the roads feature long stretches with minimal turns. Ironman Arizona Course Recon Race day typically brings a cool morning and sunny afternoon, though past Ironman Arizona racers have experienced extreme weather from hail to temperatures in the mid 90’s. One constant, however, is the presence of shifting wind on the Beeline Highway. Athletes should prepare for headwinds and crosswinds of varying speeds. Ironman Arizona Course Recon The flat course allows riders to remain in aero position for extended periods of time. A slight incline, which begins 14 miles into each loop, breaks up the monotony and allows athletes an opportunity to sit up and stretch. Ironman Arizona Course Recon The incline becomes steeper as riders approach the turnaround at Shea Boulevard. From there, athletes will retrace the path to Tempe Town Lake to complete each loop. Ironman Arizona Course Recon Elevation profile for one loop of the Ironman Arizona bike course. Ironman Arizona Course Recon Historically, the Ironman Arizona run course has followed three loops of a figure-eight design. Due to construction, however, the 2013 race has been changed to a two-loop, U-shaped route. Upon leaving transition, athletes will follow an out-and-back along the south shore of Tempe Town Lake. Ironman Arizona Course Recon After crossing the lake via the Priest Drive bridge, runners will follow another out-and-back along the north shore of Tempe Town Lake. At miles 9 and 22, athletes deviate from the lakefront path to Curry Hill, the only significant climb of the run course. Ironman Arizona Course Recon The run course provides little shade for runners—a hat or visor is strongly suggested for athletes. Spectators looking to meet their runner multiple times on the course may utilize the Mill Avenue bridge or the pedestrian bridge at the Tempe Center for the Arts, which provides quick and easy access to the north and south shore paths. Ironman Arizona Course Recon Elevation profile for one loop of the Ironman Arizona run course.
With a fast course, spectator-friendly venue, and ideal weather conditions, Ironman Arizona has become one of the most popular races on the Ironman circuit.
Professional triathletes, too, flock to Tempe each November for the race—some in search of a late-season victory, others looking to redeem a poor performance at the Ironman World Championships. Many of the sport’s best, including Leanda Cave, Eneko Llanos, Linsey Corbin, and Jordan Rapp, have claimed Ironman Arizona victories in the past.
“If I could define this race with one word it would be ‘community.’” said 2012 Ironman Arizona champion
Linsey Corbin, “I think it’s a real pleasure to be sharing the course with age groupers, as well as the other professionals. I enjoy being able to say ‘good job’ and ‘good luck’ to people. There’s a lot of energy with this course.”
Paul Amey, who holds several top-three finishes at Ironman Arizona, agrees: “I’ve done a few races in Arizona. The weather is always good and it’s a good course. It’s always a good atmosphere and a good crowd.”
The 2014 race will take place on Sunday, Nov. 16. Live race coverage can be found on
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