Ironman race day arrives in Augusta

If you blinked, you missed Johnathan “The Flash” Ramirez cross the finish line at the IRONKIDS Augusta Fun Run on Saturday.

 

“He is our pride. He picked up on running last summer,” said Jonthan’s father Javier. “He is running with passion. He hasn’t even trained before.”

Javier ran while in the military. When he would go for runs at home, Johnathan would often accompany him, helping to perk him up. Sometimes Javier would use that to help an overactive Johnathan to settle down.

“I never would have known then that that was his passion,” Javier said.

The Fun Run was part of the Ironman 70.3 Augusta activities in advance of Sunday’s races. The triathlon begins at 7:30 a.m with the men’s competition, followed by the women’s start at 7:40 a.m.

Four-year-old Sydney Martin ran the Fun Run with her dad Patrick. He has experience running in smaller runs “but not anything like (IRONKIDS).”

Down the street from the Augusta Common where the kid’s race was held, Ironman competitors browsed for last minute items and received information about Sunday’s event at its annual expo.

TriBike Transport from Asheville helped many athletes transport their bicycles for the race to Augusta without worrying about mailing them or hauling them across the country. Approximately 90 bikes were brought to Augusta. Once unloaded from a truck, employees like Mike Zimmerman helped prepare them for the race.

“We put their peddles back on for them and we have tools and pumps,” he said.

Many competitors searched through the various merchandise and took advantage of the services offered at the Ironman Expo, including massages to help get their muscles ready for the races.

Steve Cook from Jupiter, Fla., has competed in about 25 shorter distance events and this will be the first race of this length – a 13.1-mile run to end the three-event competition that also includes a 1.2-mile swim and a 56-mile bike race. He trained six days a week for over a year and competed in other races during that time to prepare for Augusta.

Teri Kanicki of Savannah is competing in her fourth Augusta Ironman. She has also competed in Florida and Texas.

“I love coming here to Augusta to do this race because the volunteers are wonderful, the talent is super supportive,” she said.

Kanicki said the event is an opportunity for self-fulfillment.

“You’re always working toward a goal,” she said. “You’re always trying to better yourself.”

She is also an elementary school teacher, so the competition helps set an example for students. Kanicki uses data from it to help teach about converting miles and meters.

Kanicki, who trained six days a week, sometimes twice a day, said she is hoping all that hard work will pay off by finishing in the top three of her group.

About the race

The Ironman 70.3 Augusta will start Sunday with a 1.2-mile swim in the Savannah River from the Augusta Riverwalk Marina to the Boathouse Community Center. From there, athletes will transition to the 56-mile cycling leg into South Carolina before returning to Georgia. The final transition occurs at the boathouse to begin the 13.1-mile run through downtown. The finish line will be at Augusta Common. The pro men will enter the water first at 7:30 a.m., followed by the pro women at 7:40.

Today’s road closures

On Greene and Reynolds streets, one lane of traffic along the route will be designated for the race Sunday, with cones marking the circuit. Broad Street will be closed to vehicle traffic from 13th Street to East Boundary.

-- The westbound lane of Broad Street between Eighth and Ninth streets will be closed until 6 p.m.

-- Gordon Highway ramps will be closed at Broad and Bay streets from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m.

-- The Fifth Street Bridge will be closed from 6 to 10 a.m.

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