Tuesday, 24 November 2009 11:35

Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3

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Ironman - Photo by Chris ConnellThe Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 took place in Clearwater on November 14th, challenging the passion, determination and endurance of 1,438 triathletes competing for a $90,000 purse. To compete in the event, triathletes first had to qualify in one of more than 30 Ironman 70.3’s held around the world.


Competitors came from all corners, representing 48 countries from Canada to Qatar and everywhere in between, with ages ranging from 18 to 79 years old. Despite the name – Ironman – 30% of the triathletes were women. 

The race began at 6:45 in the morning with the 1.2 mile swim at the south end of Clearwater Beach. The course was changed from its Ironman began with a swim portion - Photo by Chris Connelloriginal location off Pier 60 due to safety concerns with lingering weather conditions from Tropical Storm Ida.

Following the swim, participants had to tackle the steep inclines of the Memorial Causeway – both ways, three times – once by bike, then two laps running. The bike portion took triathletes from Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach all the way to Trinity Avenue via Countryside Blvd, then across the Bayside Bridge via McMullan Booth, exiting on RoosThe finish line of the Ironman triathlon - Photo by Chris Connellevelt Ave and returning to Pier 60.

Among this year’s participants was celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. This was the 42 year old restaurant owner’s first entrance in the World Championship event. DiSpirito has competed in a number of other triathlons throughout the world, beginning with his first charity event three years ago.

Terenzo Bozzone, last year’s winner, was on hand to defend his title, but ultimately the championships went to Germany’s Michael Raelert and Great Britain’s Julie Dibens. Raelert, the younger brother of last year’s runner up, broke the course record with his overall time of 3:34:04. Persistence earned Dibens her championship. Lagging behind in her first Ironman competition, she has become a top finisher in recent years. “I trained for this all year – I can even go back and say that I've trained for this for a few years,” said Dibens. The first woman to finish in less than four hours, her overall time of 3:59:33 set a 70.3 record.

NBC will air the race in a 90 minute special on Sunday, June 6, 2010. Ironman has challenged the passion, determination and endurance of athletes since 1978, introducing the Ironman 70.3 in 2006. For more information, visit http://www.ironman.com/.

Read 2118 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 December 2009 10:17