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The inaugural Ironman Kansas 70.3 is in the books, and despite a round of storms that resulted in over a third of the field having their race cut short in the interest of safety, initial reviews are that the event was a glowing success and a fantastic new addition to the Ironman 70.3 circuit.
Lawrence, Kansas, was abuzz in Ironman fever starting last Friday when athletes from around the country descended on the town for the expo, held in picturesque downtown Lawrence. A multitude of vendors and a street party greeted visitors as they picked up packets, visited with vendors, checked out the Navy SEALs Accelerator Tour, and caught some live music. In the World MultiSport booth we had the pleasure of meeting some of our customers face-to-face and talking to racers from over a dozen states, some from as far away as Alaska!
On Saturday athletes continued to pour into the expo and registration after which they headed out to the transition area at Clinton State Park, southwest of Lawrence, to check in their bikes for the following day’s big event. Many athletes opted to take advantage of the vast campgrounds at Clinton State Park; camping a mere few hundred meters from the transition area. In retrospect I would have opted for this too had I not been tied up with other responsibilities on Saturday afternoon. Reports from the campers are that camping conditions were ideal and the proximity to the race can’t be beat. In fact, for anyone who’s had the opportunity to head to the Wildflower Triathlon & Festival, a festival at Clinton State Park in conjunction with the Ironman 70.3 race could become the Midwest’s answer to the wildly popular event in California. The energy in the campgrounds before and during the race was definitely a sight to see and I can definitely see this turning into something bigger given more activities at the park itself while still providing some aspects of the event that would draw visitors to experience the delights of downtown Lawrence.
The drive from Kansas City to Clinton Lake in what seemed like the middle of the night (actually, it was the middle of the night) was a little disconcerting since we could see an electrical storm way off in the distance. However, as the sun rose it became clear that it was going to be a beautiful morning for a race. The music was pumping and the announcer was getting people fired up. Virtually everyone that’s ever been involved with triathlon in the Kansas City area was there, either racing, volunteering, or cheering, so the high fives and shouts started early and often.