Ironman Course Closes At Midnight

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — It was a race against time for many Triathletes who remained on the Coeur d’Alene course on Sunday evening.

The course closed at midnight, depriving all the remaining athletes who were still out there without an official time. Ironman officials gave those remaining on the course after midnight the chance to finish, although it will be an “un-official” finish.

Similar stage closures were seen on other portions of the race.

The first stage, a 2.4 mile swim on Lake Coeur d’Alene, saw a closure time of 9:20 a.m. With a race start just about two hours earlier, athletes had to complete the swim in the allotted time or face elimination. Officials in pontoon boats were seen pulling athletes out of the water after the time deadline. For some the first stage was just too much, as athletes returned to the shore heavy hearted and disqualified.

The bicycle stage of the course saw athletes pedaling 112 miles on a course that led them all the way up to Hayden Lake. Racers were given until 5:30 p.m. to complete this stage.

Strict rules were observed on the biking course. Athletes could not draft other athletes. Athletes caught drafting were giving time penalties that had to be served in the penalty tent. Cyclists also had to give the rider ahead of them a four bicycle length cushion, unless they wanted to pass, a feat which they had to do in 20 seconds or face yet another penalty.

But it’s the run that concerns most athletes. The grueling last leg of the course has Triathletes running a full marathon before finishing. Race officials say that many won’t make it by the midnight cut-off time. For those who were on the course come Sunday night, they were undoubtedly checking their watches.