Thousands of athletes cross the finish line at Ironman 70.3

Athletes were up before the sun to start the race

ROANOKE, Va. – After months of training, thousands of athletes made their way across the finish line of the Ironman 70.3.

Up before the sun, athletes from across the county gathered at Carvins Cove Sunday to start the swimming portion of the race.

This year’s Ironman makes five total for racer Haley Reber.

“Out of all of the Ironman’s we’ve done, this is the most beautiful venue we’ve been to,” Reber said.

After swimming 1.2 miles, competitors biked 56 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Reber says the parkway is the whole reason she picked this course.

“My husband and I are so excited to climb ‘The Claw’ today out of Buchanan, so we chose this race so we could do the 5-mile climb,” she said.

Finally, racers run a half marathon to finish it out.

Dan Grimm is part of a relay team and ran the final 13.2 miles.

“I’ve lived in Roanoke for about two years and having the course that goes right by my apartment in Wasena, it’s awesome just having this as a hometown event,” Grimm said.

Reber says the Ironman has given her a lot to love about the Star City.

“We want to come back and vacation in Roanoke now,” she said. “We fell in love with Roanoke.”

She says anyone can do an Ironman if they set their sights on it.

“11 years ago, I could not ride my bike three miles,” Reber said. “I was very out of shape. I had younger children and I just decided I needed to be healthier for them and then my journey began.”

Organizers say they don’t know when or if the race will return due to upcoming construction on the parkway, but people 10 News spoke with say they hope it will come back soon.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.