It has been a while, but Ironman racing is set to return to North America this weekend in Tempe, Arizona. Race weekend activities for Ironman 70.3 Arizona begin on Saturday with check in at Tempe Beach Park – athlete check in for the race is by appointment. Based on the participant list posted on the event website, there appear to be about 950 athletes registered for the race.
According to a release sent out yesterday: “Ironman has developed a series of comprehensive Safe Return to Racing operating principles prepared in accordance with industry standards for open air mass participation sporting events. These operating principles have been designed to allow for events like the 2020 Ironman 70.3 Arizona to be organized in a manner consistent with local community objectives and expectations set by public health entities as it relates to contagion risk mitigation of COVID-19.”
Ironman has developed a series of Athlete Smart recommendations which can be found here.
According to Ironman, here’s what athletes can expect at the race this weekend and other upcoming Ironman events:
- Enhanced Hygiene: Hand sanitizer, hand washing stations, and disinfectant wipes will be readily available around our venues. Cleaning of common venue areas will be enhanced. Staff and volunteers will be provided with face coverings and will be required to wear the face covering properly at all times around the event venue. Disposable gloves to be used by staff and volunteers in all applicable areas. Athletes will be provided with face coverings at packet pickup and will be required to wear a face covering around all event venues.
- Screening and Education: Appropriate personal health, personal hygiene and safe support education and training will be provided for staff and volunteers in necessary functional areas. This includes the expansion of the Ironman Smart Program, which provides Volunteer Smart guidelines for volunteers. Athletes and volunteers will be required to answer a pre-race health questionnaire. Additionally, in the registration/expo venue on Saturday, no-touch body temperature screening will be instituted. Individuals with a body temperature of greater than 100.4º Fahrenheit or 38º Celsius will not be allowed to race, volunteer or work.
- Density Reduction: We will institute measures to increase space for athletes and supporting personnel in areas such as swim start, transition, and finish line. Modification or elimination of non-essential race services and functions, such as awards ceremonies and banquets will be modified or eliminated.
- Touchpoint Minimization: We will reduce or remove touchpoints and points of interaction between staff, athletes, and volunteers without compromising event safety and security, through redesign and reconfiguration of event village areas as well as race course zones such as aid stations.
- Athlete Self-Reliance: Through the Athlete Smart program, athletes will be empowered to determine their individual level of self-reliance to further minimize interaction and touch points with race officials and volunteers. Athletes will be encouraged to carry nutrition and hydration while utilizing items such as hydration vests. Athletes should review and embrace Athlete Smart Self Reliance Tips which can be found here www.ironman.com/return-tips.