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Ironman Louisville has one of the most unique swim starts of any Ironman. Plus the course passes historic landmarks and offers athletes scenic views of Oldham County. We chatted with race director Beth Atnip, who provides a preview of the course and gives participants a few tips for a successful race.
Unlike typical Ironmans, Ironman Louisville has a time-trial start. All athletes will enter the water within 35 minutes. There is no mass swim start so that usually makes this race a little less stressful.
Athletes will start in a smaller channel and then will swim out into a main shipping channel where there will be more room to spread out. They will swim up river and then make a left-hand turn around Toe Head Island and begin heading down river. Each year the current is different, so it’s tough to say how well heading down river will help with finish times. There will be stairs at the end to make leaving the water easier.
Tip: Don’t stress about getting there early on race morning. Take your time in transition. This year extra pointers will be added to get athletes into the water.
The bike course will take place through two counties: Jefferson and Oldham. At the beginning, it is plenty flat, but a challenging hill will come around mile 20. Then athletes will head out onto a 30-mile loop they will complete twice. This loop is a mix of rolling hills and flat terrain; it is also very scenic for those able to enjoy the views.
Tip: The bike course starts out flat, so some athletes will just pound it out for the first 20 miles. Remember to ease into it and take it slower. The hills will come.
This mostly flat course takes place all within the city of Louisville. It has one hill in which athletes run up onto a bridge, but don’t go back on to it. It stays mainly on the streets and parkways. Notable landmarks runners will pass include the main entrance of the University of Louisville and behind Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby.
The race finishes at Fourth Street Live—an energetic, lively entertainment and retail complex.
Tip: Ease into the run and get in your hydration. It is summertime and athletes will be dehydrated in the heat and humidity. If you aren’t feeling well, liquid is the easiest way to get your calories in during the run.