The Ford Ironman Arizona will take place for the fifth time on November 23, 2008. This will be the first fall date for the event, which has previously taken place in April, and will become the permanent date for this event going forward to 2009 and beyond.
This change has been in the planning stages for some time. A few of the reasons for the change include avoiding the gusty winds and hot weather that have challenged athletes in the first three years of the race and scheduling issues with all parties involved. The event will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving in future years.
"Tempe is excited to partner with North America Sports, and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community to make Ironman Triathlon History. We are delighted to welcome Ironman athletes back to Tempe for the second time this year!" said Travis Dray, Dept. Director of Parks and Rec for the City of Tempe and Ford Ironman Arizona finisher.
Athletes in the 2008 April event battled high temperatures, with the titles going to a pair of Hungarian athletes. First-time Ironman winner Jozsef Major bested the field to take first place. Countrywoman Erika Csomor took the women's race to win her first Ironman title. Major will return to defend his title, but Csomor has been forced to withdraw due to illness.
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Date: Sunday, November 23, 2008
Registration: 2008 is full. Click for more information on registration procedures for NA Sports Events.
Qualifying Slots: 80 slots to the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championships
Pro Prize Purse: $50,000
The Swim: 2.4 miles total. The swim course is a single, counter-clockwise loop in Tempe Town Lake. The deep-water start takes place on the east side of the Mill Avenue Bridges. Competitors follow a rectangular course east toward the Rural Road Bridge, go underneath it, then make their first turn north and then west all the way back under the Mill Avenue Bridges. A final turn south aims swimmers toward shore and the first transition at Tempe Beach ParkPhoto courtesy of Action Sports International, asiphoto.com
The Bike: 112 miles total. This three-loop course features a modest 500 feet of elevation gain per lap. The majority of the course is along the mostly-straight Beeline Highway. Aid stations are located every 10 miles.
The Run: 26.2 miles total. This three-loop marathon is flatter than the bike and more scenic, running mainly along the Tempe Town Lake. Spectator-friendly and relatively cooler due to it's proximity to the water, there is little shade to be found on the final leg. Aid stations are found at every mile along the course.
For course maps and elevation profiles, visit the official race website.
Community Races at Ford Ironman Arizona
Ford Ironman Arizona is inviting the community to take part in the event through the Ford Ironman Arizona Kids Run presented by the East Valley Tribune and the Ford Ironman Arizona 5K Run presented by Chances for Children on Saturday, November 22, 2008. Registration is available online (click on the name of each event above), or on-site on Saturday morning.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the East Valley Tribune Newspapers in Education Fund and the Chances for Children Charity.
Photos courtesy of Action Sports International, asiphoto.com.