2009 Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island

I finally got a Half Ironman in today. I did one back in May, but the swim was cancelled because of fog. So, today, at the Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island, I was happy to finish strong after not pushing too hard. I was nervous going into the race because I did lots of training last weekend, ran a road race last weekend, and did the Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon this past Wednesday. Now, I have two weeks to recover before my second “A race” of the season. A lot of folks wouldn’t have raced today, but I needed the experience.

Men's 35-39 Swim Start

Doing an Ironman brand race is a trip. These events are so overproduced. They couldn’t be more different from the local trail races that I’m used to running. Of course, the entry fees are much different. Ironman events are not cheap. It was still fun, but in a different way. The check-in procedure that I went through on Saturday was so involved. From waiver signing, to chip activation, to wrist bands, to body marking-Ironman events are unique. I’ll expect more of the same in two weeks in Lake Placid. More than 1300 triathletes finished today. The race started in Narragansett with a 1.2 mile swim in the chop at Wheeler State Beach. The swim start was delayed; all of the course marker buoys had moved overnight because of the heavy wind. I had a rough time with navigating the course, but survived, which is about all I can expect when it comes to the swim.


I fared much better on the 56 mile bike leg. We rode point to point from Narragansett to Providence. The course wasn’t totally flat, but I was still able to average more than 22 mph. There were a fair number of rollers and a few legitimate little ring climbs. The course also had a lot of turns, though the pavement was smooth on most of the roads. I enjoyed the course immensely.


The 13.1 mile run course was a two loop out and back affair through the city streets with a finish right in front of the State House. There was one stiff wall, but mostly the course was flat. There were tons of spectators and as many volunteers. The aid stations were like parties and there was one every mile. It was very cool. I had a decent run, though I backed off a bit in the last five miles. I didn’t want to dig too deep. I finished in 4:40:37.

The results amaze me. Three pro triathletes had a pitched battle for 1st place with Michael Lovato beating out Richie Cunningham and Cameron Brown. A fourth pro, Wolfgang Guembel, also broke four hours. Fifth place was an amateur, but no slouch, Chrstopher Thomas. Thomas was 2nd at the Griskus earlier this week and won the Griskus Olympic Race last month. He is one of the strongest triathletes in New England and proved it today, finishing in under 4:03, an outstanding time. The women’s race was won by triathlon legend, Michellie Jones, who finished in 4:23:55. She was looking strong when I saw her on the run. That is the beauty of out and back courses. You get to see all the other competitors at least once. Ironman does have a cool Athlete Tracker. You can search for people you know.

The Park.

All in all, it was a fun experience to finally do an Ironman brand race. The volunteers and race organization really were fantastic. You have high expectations when the entry fees are high and this many people are doing an event. This is a little different from the Soapstone Assault, which incidentally, is this weekend. We will be ecstatic if we get 40 runners! The Ironman 70.3 had nearly 1500 participants. That is quite a contrast. You can do the Assault for $5.00, a significant discount from the Ironman event. In Narragansett, the delayed start was a little hectic, but that really was no big deal. The courses were well marked and there was a real energetic vibe. I’m glad I did this one. It was close to home and now I know what to expect with these types of events. They are a lot different than the local triathlons that I’m used to. On to Lake Placid…

1 Response to “2009 Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island”

  1. 1 Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island « Life Adventures Trackback on 10 July 2011 at 8:14 pm

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