There will be a new champion crowned at the IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio triathlon Sunday. Out of about 2,400 registered for the third year of the event held in Delaware, one name is unfortunately not on the list.
Dublin-native Michael Vulanich and current San Francisco resident who ran the fastest times in each of the first two races with times of 4:12:53 and 4:06:08 respectively, broke his foot in training and is unable to compete this time around.
“I really enjoyed coming home the past two years to race where I was raised – and winning was a nice cherry on top,” Vulanich said via email.
Angela Quick, a native of Canada, finished with a time of 4:39:36 to win the 2016 race, and Peggy Yetman won last year’s event with a time of 4:30:00.
This is the third year hosting the event for Delaware and Ohio Wesleyan University, which has 30 qualifying spots to the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Sept. 8-9, 2019, in Nice, France.
“Delaware has been an amazing host for us,” race director Ken Hammond said. “The hospitality from city officials, the police department, neighbors, the city as a whole, (and) Delaware County has been just amazing. Everyone just rolls out the red carpet for our athletes.”
Ohio Wesleyan is hosting a three-day event surrounding the race at Selby Stadium.
“They’ve been just gracious hosts allowing us to use their facilities,” Hammond said. “It’s pretty iconic to finish right on the track … spectators get to use the bleachers to watch. It’s been an incredible experience for our athletes.”
The IRONMAN village and store as well as information and athlete check-in tents will be up and running Friday through Sunday.
The Ironkids fun run is Saturday at 9 a.m. at Selby Stadium, and it all leads up to the race itself, which starts Sunday at 7 a.m. All of it is open to the public.
“This is my first time being here with the event (going on),” OWU Assistant Athletic Director Michael Taylor said. “So, it’s kind of neat to see the venue start to transform for something as large as this … I’m excited about it.”
Taylor views the event as a way for people to see OWU that might not have had an opportunity see it otherwise.
“It’s an opportunity for everyone to rally together and show off our city,” Taylor said. “It’s obviously a great opportunity to bring such an event to campus and to showcase the facilities at the college.
“If there’s families that are coming here and are seeing Ohio Wesleyan for the first time – there’s that aspect as well for potential recruiting of students. I think that’s another bonus. Hopefully, that continues on into the future.”
As for the details surrounding the IRONMAN 70.3 Ohio triathlon, the swimming course is 1.2 miles and will take place in Delaware Lake. It is a triangular course that begins and ends on the Delaware State Park’s beach with two right-hand turns – a change from previous years.
“The reason for the change is in past years – when they would try to see the buoys ahead of them – they were staring into the sun,” Hammond said. “We’re trying to avoid that by changing directions.”
The biking leg of the race is a 56-mile course that is mostly flat, fast and straight, topping out at 450 feet of elevation. The course starts at the state park, heads north on U.S. Route 23 to state Route 98.
Racers will turn right at state Route 309, where the race will reach its northern-most point in Marion County then come back south on state Route 746 and U.S. Route 42, before continuing through Delaware where it will end at OWU’s Selby Stadium.
The running portion of the race is 13.1 miles starting at the stadium. Runners will head south on South Henry Street, turning left on Olentangy Avenue and right on Pollack Road.
A right turn on Kingsbury Road begins the first of two loops along Berlin Station Road, Braumiller Road and Pollack Road, before heading back to the finish line at Selby Stadium.
Hammond said they need volunteers – adding that they’re down to about 500 to 600 volunteers from an estimated 1,400 last year.
“We could use the help,” he said. “Volunteers are really, truly what makes the race happen. They’re the ones that essentially get the athletes from the start to the finish. We’re looking for help anywhere from water stations to sunscreen tents to security.”
To volunteer, visit: http://ironman.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=26750.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.