Carilion Clinic Ironman 70.3 makes history with race course in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

The economic impact is expected to be nearly $10 million

ROANOKE, Va. – The IRONMAN group has announced the course details for the upcoming Carilion Clinic Ironman triathlon.

The centerpiece for the 70.3-mile route includes a bike course that will go along 56 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Roanoke County into Botetourt County.

It was standing room only for the announcement Wednesday morning, as stakeholders from each of the many localities represented in the course celebrated a big victory.

“Absolutely huge for our region,” said Landon Howard, president of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

For the swimming portion, triathletes will be jumping into Carvins Cove for a 1.2-mile swim before transitioning to a run at River’s Edge Park and the Roanoke River Greenway.

The biggest news out of Wednesday’s announcement was approval for the bike ride to roll along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“Just shy of 4,000 feet of elevation gain which is pretty unique and unheard of,” said Brandt Bernat, IRONMAN race director.

It’s not just unique for IRONMAN, but it’s unprecedented for the National Park Service.

“This is the largest event ever hosted on the Blue Ridge Parkway,” Howard said.

“It’ll be a nice reprieve to get on the Parkway and have the views and the setting and hopefully some downhill rides,” said Blue Ridge Parkway public information officer Leesa Brandon.

Lawmakers and thousands of local people fought to get approval to use the parkway, adding to an incredible opportunity for triathletes and for Virginia.

“We want this to not only be a great sporting event but we want to put this place on the map,” Howard said.

The economic impact of the event is expected to be nearly $10 million.

The triathlon is set for June 7. For more information, visit the IRONMAN website.

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