Ironman races set for PCB Saturday

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 10:42 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -This is going to be a big weekend for thousands of triathletes who are converging in Panama City Beach this week.

Saturday both the Visit Panama City Beach Ironman Florida 70.3 race, and Ironman Florida race will take place on the same day, a first for these races!

The race this year moving it’s headquarters and start-finish lines from the Boardwalk Beach Resort, to Aaron Bessant Park on the west side of Pier Park. Thousands of athletes checking in, and having to do so under strict safety protocols.

Even the media not allowed inside the vendor and registration areas.

Every possible precaution they tell us, is being used to keep the athletes, the staff and the hundreds of volunteers who help out as safe as possible. That said, the Ironman folks rather thrilled to be hosting these triathlons here.

“Yeah we’re super excited to be here in Panama City Beach.” Keats McGonigal, Ironman’s Operations Manager told me Thursday afternoon, as we spoke just outside the vendor village at Aaron Bessant Park. "The fact that we’re able to do an event in the midst of everything that’s going on in our country and the world right now is pretty spectacular. A big shout out, a big thank you to the city of Panama City Beach for their support and walking through us on this journey to be able to be able to operate this event this weekend.>

“We’ve laid out the best laid plans with all things considered.” says Ironman Race Director Ben Rausa told me. “And so far our athletes are completely satisfied with the way we’ve laid it out and the conditions we’ve asked them to adhere to during our process. From registering to racing.”

These race officials are working with the confidence of having used these protocols just a couple of weeks ago at an Ironman event in Tempe, a 70.3 race there.

“Absolutely that was a really good training tool for us.” said Rausa. “The event was much smaller than it is here. But we had our same systems in place and that worked out well and we had no issues at all.”

“And we’ve even made some adjustments since operating that.”added McGonigal. "So we think this weekend is going to go really well. We’ve had two days of athletes checking in. The mood has been really positive, they’ve been appreciative. They just want to get out and race. And so when that attitude carries over to race day, we’re gonna be in great shape.>

As of a midday Thursday around 800 had signed up for the half-ironman and nearly 2,000 athletes were signed up for the full Ironman race.

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