Ironman finish returns to Olympic Oval Sunday

Rasmus Svenningsson, of Sweden, finishes first in the 2021 Lake Placid Ironman triathlon with a time of 8:13:25. Spectators on both sides of Main Street cheer as he approaches the finish line by the Olympic Speedskating Oval. (Enterprise photo — Parker O'Brien)

LAKE PLACID — Whether you love it or hate it, Ironman Lake Placid is back for its 22nd running on Sunday, July 24.

Spectators and fans will gather to watch well over 2,000 athletes competing in the 140.6-mile Ironman race which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

According to the Ironman Lake Placid website, over 3,300 athletes are registered to compete in this year’s race. Some athletes who register don’t always start the race and some who start don’t finish.

“It will be very similar to years past with the exception of 2021, which was heavily impacted by COVID,” Ironman Regional Race Director Dave Christen said.

Among the returners will be pro athletes. That group includes previous Ironman Lake Placid winners, Andy Potts, Matt Russell and Heather Jackson; they are all registered for Sunday’s race.

Christen said it’s a pretty decent list of pro athletes who are signed up for the race on both men’s and women’s side.

Just like the return of the professional competitors, many local athletes will compete in Ironman. But this year spectators might be able to identify local competitors on the fly.

“We’re working on a way to have something on their bib that’s visible to people observing,” Christen said. “Whether that be a sticker or something, but we’re still working on that for now.”

Christen said the local athletes who would receive a “special bib” would be participants with addresses in the Adirondacks.

A year ago, the Ironman race was tasked with making many changes to its course due to the construction in Lake Placid. While Christen said much will remain the same from the course in 2021, one of the transition areas and the finish line will return to a familiar spot: the Olympic Speedskating Oval on Main Street.

Upon completing the two 1.2-mile laps on Mirror Lake, Ironman athletes will remove their bodysuits at the beach with the help of volunteers and run to the bike transition on the oval. Last year, the bike transition was at the Northwood School.

“(The oval) is now complete enough, and the transition area will be moving back,” Christen said. “So the course itself is effectively the same, but that specific transition area is moving.”

Christen also added that the finish line will return to the oval, after being held in front of the oval on Main Street last year.

The running portion of the race will also see a change. This year athletes will no longer have to complete four laps through the North Elba Show Grounds throughout the course of the race. Runners will come up past the traffic light on Mill Hill and go out on Mirror Lake Drive to finish their first loop.

The race will start with the swimming portion at the municipal beach on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid just before 7 a.m. and officially finish at midnight.

Learn more about the Ironman Lake Placid triathlon online at www.ironman.com/im-lake-placid.


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