Pick your spots to watch triathlon

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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.

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Swim: 1.2-mile swim from Augusta Riverwalk Marina to the Boathouse SWIM: Community Center begins at 7:30 a.m. Best viewpoint: Fifth Street Bridge to see start line and swimmers pass under the bridge  MICHAEL HOLAHAN
MICHAEL HOLAHAN
Swim: 1.2-mile swim from Augusta Riverwalk Marina to the Boathouse SWIM: Community Center begins at 7:30 a.m. Best viewpoint: Fifth Street Bridge to see start line and swimmers pass under the bridge

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.

THE COURSE AND BEST PLACES TO WATCH THE ESI IRONMAN 70.3 AUGUSTA RACE THIS SUNDAY CONSISTS OF THREE PARTS:

SWIM: 1.2-mile swim from Augusta Riverwalk Marina to the Boathouse Community Center begins at 7:30 a.m.

BEST VIEWPOINT: Fifth Street Bridge to see start line and swimmers pass under the bridge

BIKE: 56-mile ride from the transition area at the Boathouse into South Carolina, including Jackson and New Ellenton, with race leaders beginning about 8 a.m.

BEST VIEWPOINT: Transition area at the Boathouse

RUN: 13.1-mile run from the transition area to a double-loop on Greene, Broad and Reynolds streets with race leaders expected to begin about 10 a.m.

BEST VIEWPOINT: Augusta Common finish line

CLOSURES & PARKING

Beginning at 4 a.m. Sunday, Gordon Highway ramps (until 6 p.m.) and the Fifth Street Bridge (until 10 a.m.) will be closed.

No parking will be allowed Sunday from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Broad Street (East Boundary to 13th Street) and Reynolds Street (East Boundary to Bay Street).

Arrive early to find parking on side streets and at the Augusta Municipal Building on Greene Street. No parking is available near the spectator spot at the Boathouse.


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