IRONMAN route finalized using Blue Ridge Parkway

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- Athletes participating in the 2020 Carilion Clinic IRONMAN now have a better idea of what they are going to have to tackle this June.

Organizers announced Wednesday the participants will be cycling along the Blue Ridge Parkway during the race.

“This is going to be a great thing that will be able to showcase the local area to our athletes and create an experience that will truly, truly be memorable,” North American IRONMAN Head of Operations Keats McGonigal said.

The course is meant to challenge competitors, but also highlight the beauty of the Roanoke Valley.

“We see it as an opportunity to showcase the Blue Ridge Parkway and invite potential visitors that have never been here,” Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee said.

Before approving the course, the National Park Service needed to study the impacts of closing down the parkway for the event.

NPS officials said about 1,200 people responded to a survey in favor of using the national park for the triathlon.

“We are continually looking at ways to be that economic engine, which is one of the reasons the Parkway was created to begin with and we just feel like that it’s an opportunity for us as well to give back to the communities that have supported us for so many years,” Lee said.

Organizers estimate the triathlon will generate upwards of $10 million for the Roanoke Valley.

“This is absolutely a grand-slam home-run in terms of events for this region,” Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair Phil North said.

The IRONMAN is scheduled for Sunday, June 7. Athletes will start with the 1.2-mile swim at Carvins Cove. They will then transition to the 56-mile bike course through the Blue Ridge Mountains and end with a run to the finish line at River’s Edge Park in Roanoke.

In total there are 3,000 general registration spots available to athletes. IRONMAN representatives expect the remaining available spots will be filled within the next week.

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The IRONMAN Group has announced course details for the inaugural Carilion Clinic Ironman triathlon.

The centerpiece for the 70.3-mile route includes a bike course along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It will run from Roanoke County to Botetourt County, along the parkway into Vinton and ending in the city of Roanoke.

The swim portion will be in Carvins Cove Reservoir; the run portion will be along the Roanoke River Greenway,

The triathlon is scheduled for Sunday, June 7.

For more information on the event, click here.

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