Ironman race expected to draw in more than 30,000 to Augusta
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Ironman is back in Augusta. Friday at the Convention Center downtown athletes from all over the world started checking in for the big race. Organizers tell us they’re expecting more than 3,700 athletes and 23,000 spectators in our city this weekend.
Earlier this week the city was preparing for this event setting up bike racks in the transition areas from swimming to biking. Back in 2019 this is really what we missed last year.
This year we’re expecting 23,000 spectators coming into the Garden City and more than 3,700 athletes to compete in this event which brings in around $5 million in economic impact to Augusta, not to mention this will help all the restaurants that have really struggled over the past year. And some of those out of town folk come to Augusta, not only for Ironman, but for the atmosphere.
The same message is being shared with everyone we talked to Friday. They’re happy to be back after missing out last year but getting back in the swing of things is always a challenge.
“This is a little bit weird and it’s just coming back after the first 70.3 in two years. It’s kind of like resetting the bar all over again,” said Brian Aker.
“We were disappointed. I mean everything was canceled last year. Life got canceled last year. We’re really glad to be back,” said Joy Aker.
Joy is a nurse. She says she usually volunteers as a nurse for Ironman, but they said they were already full in that area. She’ll be at the finish line this year watching everyone come across.
We know our Ironman is a big deal. But if you’re wondering just how big we talked to the race’s regional director this week who says it’s one of the most popular in the nation.
“It’s one of the most popular events. Everyone loves to swim here in Augusta. It’s a fast swim, and it’s known as one of the biggest half Ironman events on the circuit,” said Eric Atnip.
Whether you’re headed to the race or not, don’t forget about the road closures that come with it. You can see the route for the biking portion of the race goes from Gordon Highway into South Augusta down to the airport. They’re actually closing some of the side entrances to the airport. Some roads could be impacted until 6 p.m. Sunday night.
There are dozens of closures so know it will take longer to get around downtown this weekend.
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