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What to know about this weekend's Ironman in Raleigh

Lauren Barnett, of Leawood, KS, celebrates her victory at the finish line of the Ironman 70.3 Raleigh triathlon course in Raleigh on Sunday. Barnett was the top overall woman finisher of the race with an overall time of 4:21:04.
Lauren Barnett, of Leawood, KS, celebrates her victory at the finish line of the Ironman 70.3 Raleigh triathlon course in Raleigh on Sunday. Barnett was the top overall woman finisher of the race with an overall time of 4:21:04. newsobserver.com

This weekend, Raleigh will play host to its final Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, with athletes from around the globe swimming, running and biking across the Triangle.

The starting gun will go off at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Participants will kick off the course with a 1.2-mile swim in the Chatham County part of Jordan Lake, before drying off and biking 56 miles to downtown Raleigh, where they will run a half-marathon — 13.1 miles.

The running part of the event goes through downtown, around the State Capitol, west to Hillsborough Street and then returns to downtown.

There are plenty of opportunities for spectators to watch — and there also will be plenty of roads closed while these athletes go through the arduous course.

Here's what you need to know.

Who is running?

The race will draw over 1,500 participants from 45 countries. It will also feature a field of professional triathletes, most notably Tyler Butterfield, who represented Bermuda in the 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and Matt Chrabot, the ninth-ranked Ironman 70.3 competitor in the world.

How can I watch?

For those interested in watching the triathlon, several locations will allow good viewing.

The swim portion can be seen from Vista Point in Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. Participants will embark from and land at approximately the same location, and spectators will be able to observe the entire section from the bank.

To see the bike portion, organizers recommend the corner of West Lenoir and South Salisbury streets downtown, where participants will dismount and transition to foot.

The final element of the course, the run portion, is a loop that participants must complete twice. Much of this section runs through Dorothea Dix Park off Western Boulevard, and spectators will have viewing opportunities from the soccer fields by Hunt Drive, and along Rocky Branch Trail between South Boylan Street and Lake Wheeler Road.

The finish line will be at the south end of Fayetteville Street at City Plaza.

What roads will be closed?

Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh will be closed between Martin and Lenoir streets all day Saturday and Sunday. Other parts of Fayetteville Street will be closed between Morgan and Martin streets Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Lake Wheeler Road will be closed north of Tryon Road, as well as the Lake Wheeler Road Beltline exits.

Most other road closings will be on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in neighborhoods near Western Boulevard.

A complete list can be found at ironman.com/RALEIGH70.3.

What about next year?

This race will be the conclusion of the Raleigh’s Ironman 70.3 Triathlon series, which comes shortly on the heels of the conclusion of Raleigh’s Rock n Roll Half Marathon series in April.

World Triathlon Corp., which organizes both events, chose not to renew its contract with the City of Raleigh. The decision was made jointly with the City and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA).

In a March news release, Scott Dupree, executive director of the GRSA, cited lack of continued growth, as well as logistical challenges due to construction in downtown Raleigh and the distance between Jordan Lake and the downtown area as the motivation for the decision.

However, the door is still open for the races to be re-established in the future.

“We continue to have an excellent relationship with the leadership and staff of World Triathlon Corp., which remains a big believer in Raleigh,” said Dupree in the statement. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see either event return to this market in the years ahead. Moving forward, we will certainly keep that possibility in mind as we explore and evaluate future marquee events for Greater Raleigh."

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