Description: Packet pickup is located in the heart of St. George Town Square. On race morning, participants are bused to Sand Hollow Reservoir, approximately 20 miles away, where transition 1 is located in the State Park parking lot/boat access. The 1.2-mile swim is a 2-turn rectangle around the island just off shore. Once on the bike, cyclists have a 56-mile point-to-point trek back to town that takes them through and to the top of Snow Canyon. Transition 2 is in the town square next to Ironman Village and the finish. Runners are faced with a 13.1 mile, out-and-back course that takes them up to the top of Red Hills Parkway overlooking the town. Standard swag includes race-specific T-shirts and finisher medals. In 2013, the tote bag was also unique to the race, but Ironman has since standardized all 70.3 totes to Ironman 70.3 mini backpacks.
Opinion: The lake was a little too cold for me and my experience at the time. I had a 3 mm wetsuit and lacked a neoprene cap. I was freezing from the moment I entered the water to about a half an hour after I got out. Unbeknownst to me at the time, cold water in your ears can cause vertigo, and I swam the entire loop with my head spinning. At one point I even swam head first into a kayak. Other than making novice mistakes, the swim was gorgeous, to say the least.
The 56-mile journey back to town was no disappointment. St. George is serious about providing athletes with a superb experience and had street sweepers out for several days before and every day up to the race. Needless to say, there was negligible road debris and any you encountered came from a rider in front of you. Throughout the entire ride, you had picturesque red mountains/hills to ride along, locals cheered athletes on, and the ride into Snow Canyon was breathtaking in more ways than one. It would have been nice to have an aid station at the top of Snow Canyon, many of us were exhausted and in need of more hydration.
The run, although grueling, was outstanding. Roads were well maintained, Ironman had an aid station every mile, and the view from the top only invigorated you on your journey down to the finish line. Of all the races I've done over the years, I can only think of two others, Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Couer d'Alene, that had a comparable finish line cheer squad. There was no shortage of hands to slap as you rounded that last turn. Once finished, you could cool off by sitting in one of the man-made streams that ran through the park.
Would I recommend this race? Absolutely. This race was my first and favorite Ironman 70.3. The course is 100% scenic, and the locals are very supportive. I can't think of any other half Ironman that I've done that had as many locals coming out to cheer you on and support you.