St. George prepares to welcome Ironman World Championship

Mar 28, 2022, 7:02 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 10:36 pm

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Athletes from around the world will soon descend on St. George for the Ironman World Championship — marking the first time the race has been held outside of Hawaii.

The city and surrounding areas in Washington County will host the world championship for Ironman’s full-distance triathlon on Saturday, May 7.

Uncertainty surrounding pandemic and travel restrictions in Hawaii required Ironman to look for an alternative site for the 2021 postponed championship. The director of the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office said he was surprised and honored to be asked to host the prestigious race.

“This is a huge event,” Kevin Lewis said in an interview with KSL. “This is the most iconic endurance event in the world. It’s been in Hawaii for 44 years and the first time in Utah. It’s going to take a lot to pull it off, and we definitely want to put on a good show.”

St. George has hosted other Ironman races since 2010. Last September, it hosted the Ironman 70.3 World Championship — known as the half Ironman — and will host that race again this October.

“So, three world championships here in the course of 13 months,” Lewis said. “No destination has ever done anything like that.”

Ironman executives said last year that they were appreciative that St. George stepped up to host Ironman World Championship and that they were confident it would be an outstanding event.

“We are fortunate to have built such a strong and trusted relationship with our friends in the greater St. George region over the past 10-plus years,” read a prepared statement from Andrew Messick, Ironman Group’s president and chief executive officer.

For Red Rock Bicycle Company in St. George, the week of an Ironman race means shifting gears to support athletes and making repairs.

“It’s kind of a big deal that it’s not going to be in Kona,” said store manager Joey Dye. “We don’t have this level of sporting event show up very often, so it’s incredible.”

The economic payoff for the store normally comes down the road because of all the attention on the sport and also Ironman athletes returning to train in the area.

“The excitement for us is really the residual of what it does for our cycling community and what it does to inspire new athletes,” Dye said.

Around 3,500 athletes are expected to participate in the May 7 world championship. The race is projected to infuse between $30 and $35 million into the local economy, according to the tourism office.

“That will be the biggest event that’s ever happened in southern Utah,” Lewis said.

The athletes participating in the race tend to stay in St. George about a week. They also train in the area ahead of the event, providing a year-round economic impact.

“They bring in their family, friends and support teams,” Lewis explained. “They’re staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants.”

Looking ahead to October, the 70.3 World Championship will be expanded to two days and will include nearly 7,000 athletes.

“So that could be another $35 million,” Lewis said. “So, you’re looking at $70 to $80 million in economic impact this year alone.”

The tourism office is still looking for about 2,500 more volunteers for the May 7 race. For more information on how to volunteer, click here.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Larry D. Curtis

Utah motorcyclist killed after failing to navigate curve on state route

A man was killed Saturday when the motorcycle he was driving failed to make it through a curve, throwing him from his vehicle.
19 hours ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

‘You could hear it just crackling’: Residents are thankful for firefighters quick response

"You know how you hear it, crackling like a little campfire? You could hear it just crackling,” Centerville residents are thankful for the quick response from first responders to the Deuel Creek Fire.
19 hours ago
Ladd Egan

Food pantries: Inflation pushing Utah family budgets to the breaking point

This summer is proving to be extra difficult for Utah families because of record high gas prices and 40-year high inflation, according to those who provide food assistance.
19 hours ago
FILE: A Utah Highway Patrol vehicle in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (Dese...
Michael Houck

Motorcyclist dies after driving off the road in central Utah

A motorcyclist dies after driving off Interstate-70 and rolling into a median Saturday morning.
19 hours ago
FILE (Utah Highway Patrol)...
Madison Swenson

Motorcyclist dies after crashing into concrete barrier, getting hit by three cars

A 31-year-old man died early Tuesday morning after he crashed while on his motorcycle, then was struck by three vehicles in Davis County.
19 hours ago
(Utah Highway Patrol)...
Eliza Pace

Man killed after ejected from his vehicle Saturday

A man was killed after the car he was driving left the road and he was ejected Saturday.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
St. George prepares to welcome Ironman World Championship