Louisville IRONMAN 2012
For one day a year, Louisville opens it’s roads and the Ohio River to the fittest and most impressive athletes around. Louisville drivers beware, the roads all around town will be a mess, and travel times will be doubled because this Sunday Louisville will host the 2012 IRONMAN. It will however be all worth the travel troubles, because the IRONMAN is an exciting athletic event that brings with it lots of perks for our city.
If you are participating in the IRONMAN, you have known about the impending race for months, and have probably been training for longer than that. The IRONMAN consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. It sounds insane right? I have the utmost respect for the IRONMAN triathletes. Any athlete that can finish the race, let alone come in one of the top finishing places is incredible in my book.
There are plenty of places to watch the race and cheer on the athletes. The IRONMAN takes the participants all over the Louisville area, from Downtown Louisville, to LaGrange to South Louisville at Churchill Downs and back to the center of downtown. Competitors begin the race on the banks of the Ohio River with a timed trial swim. The timed trial is a unique feature to the Louisville IRONMAN that is not normally part of other IRONMAN races. Participants will jump in to the river on a first come first serve basis, one by one, to begin their swims. They will exit and begin their transitions at the Great Lawn at the Waterfront. Next is the bike section, which will take the athletes through a scenic ride in Oldham and Henry Counties. Bikers will have to handle sections of rolling hills and flat lands, but will have views of beautiful Kentucky horse farms and neighborhoods to ease the ride. The 26.2 mile run will take the participants through the University of Louisville campus and past Churchill Downs in South Louisville. The finish line will be a celebration filled with cheering fans at Fourth Street Live in the heart of Downtown Louisville.
The IRONMAN will offer 50 age group qualifying slots to the 2012 World Championship in Hawaii. That race will take place October 13of this year in Kailau-Kona. The top male and female finishers of that race will share a prize purse of $25,000. Registration is open now for the 2012 Louisville IRONMAN, so if you still need to register, you can go to Louisville IRONMAN.
Last year’s Louisville IRONMAN was a terrible reminder, just how dangerous extreme athletics can be. Just 8 minutes into the swim portion of the race, 46-year-old Mark Wezka suffered a heart attack and never regained consciousness. Wezka’s death is a reminder that we should never take our bodies for granted. I love to watch these triathlons, and marvel at the strength and hard work of the athletes involved, but we need to remember the risks associated with the sport as well. Most adult triathletes are smart about their bodies, but for young, up and comers, in a society where being number one is considered best, we might want to start teaching that being healthy and number two might not be so bad.
I will be cheering on the Ironmen and Ironwomen this weekend from the comfort of my home and wherever I can walk to. I will be avoiding the streets and suggest you do the same. I suggest using it as an excuse to have a relaxing day at home and leave the hard work to the triathletes for the day.