Broad Street is a spectator’s paradise for this weekend’s ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta triathlon. After a 1.2-mile swim and 56-mile bike ride, athletes running 13.1 miles to chase down the finish line will pass by viewers not once or twice, but four times. See the route.
That’s the spectator advantage for the race through downtown Augusta on Sunday, Sept. 25, said Brinsley Thigpen, the chief executive officer of the Augusta Sports Council. Great viewing spots along the river and upclose views of athletes as they transition from swim to bike to run could be a reason the Augusta Ironman has become the largest half-ironman in the world, she said.
“Athletes can bring families and friends and see them so many times in a short period of time,” she said.
The swim portion of the triathlon begins at 7:30 a.m. After watching swimmers take off for their bike ride, which begins at about 8 a.m., catch a spot on Broad Street to watch runners pass. The foot race begins at about 10 a.m. Then, they will be back shortly as they make the run course’s second loop, she said. To see the No. 1 finisher, head to the Augusta Common where a winner is expected about 11:15 a.m.
More than 3,000 participants are registered for this year’s triathlon. Many athletes bring one or two fans to cheer them on in Augusta, Thigpen said.
Even nonathletes come to downtown to witness the endurance and work ethic of the Ironman participants, she said.
“There’s a lot of energy in our city that day,” Thigpen said.
Race organizers encourage spectators to enjoy downtown restaurants and businesses, too.
At New Moon Cafe at Broad and 10th, people can set up chairs on the sidewalk or watch from the large glass storefront windows.
“We are here for people who want to play, people who want to watch, and people who just want to read a book,” said assistant manager Tyler Wiley.