The site of the 11th race in the Ironman U.S. Series, Chattanooga, Tennessee, will lure athletes with its dramatic scenery, idyllic weather and low-key Southern charm. — ironman.com
This year's Ironman Chattanooga is Sunday, Sept. 29, but activities will stretch throughout the weekend. Here are key dates and times. All events occur at Ross's Landing unless otherwise noted. For full schedule and more information, visit ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/chattanooga.aspx.
Noon: Pro athlete panel
3 p.m. First-timer seminar with IMU coaches
5-6 p.m. Live music
6-7 p.m. Opening ceremony
* The Ironman Village will be set up with a variety of merchants and information booths from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.
9 a.m. Ironkids Chattanooga Fun Run for registered participants
4:30-7 a.m. Athlete & spectator shuttle from Ross's Landing to swim start at Curtain Pole in Riverwalk Park
7:20 a.m. Pro start at Curtain Pole (Riverwalk Park)
7:30 a.m. Age group start at Curtain Pole (Riverwalk Park)
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information tent/lost & found
10 p.m. to 12:40 a.m. Finisher Party — cheer on the final finishers
8 a.m. to noon: Information tent/lost & found
9:30 a.m. Awards ceremony
11 a.m. 2020 Ironman World Championship slot allocation
Where to watch
Swim: Spectators can walk along the Riverwalk to watch the entire swim portion. The 2.6-mile route is paved, flat and wide, and several good viewing areas are scattered along. Shuttles will be available to the swim start from the transition point at Ross's Landing. There is no parking at the swim start. Additionally, the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge offers an eagle-eye view of the river as swimmers cross under.
Bike: The course heads south of town for 11 miles before making two loops in North Georgia. Free shuttles from the transition area at Ross's Landing will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. down to Chickamauga, Ga., where spectators will find a charming historic downtown area with several shops.
Run: The two-loop course offers plenty of viewing areas. Relax at the transition area at Ross's Landing, which has a park and several water features the public can play in. Or, make the quick walk up Riverfront Parkway to the area where athletes come through to start their second lap. Right around the corner from there is the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, which racers cross (and which is typically lined with spectators). Across the bridge is the North Shore, a great place to grab a bite or a drink while cheering on athletes during their run down the street. Barton Avenue is within walking distance of Frazier and is locally known as "The Hill," offering a panoramic viewing spot.
* For safety reasons, friends and family are asked not to attempt to follow an athlete by car. The best place to watch is in the transition area and at the finish line.
To virtually track athletes on race day, visit ironman.com and click on "Live Coverage" at the top of the page, then select the correct race. Select "Athlete Tracker" and search by bib number or last name.
According to RunTri's analysis of more than 41,000 finishers in 25 Ironman triathlons, it takes, on average, 12 hours and 35 minutes to finish an Ironman — an hour and 16 minutes for the swim, six hours and 25 minutes for the bike and four hours and 54 minutes for the run. At the 2017 Ironman Chattanooga (there was no swim portion in 2018), Elizabeth Lyles of Nevada clinched victory with a time of 9:05:33, which was 23 minutes better than her closest competitor.
Out of the 41 Ironman events worldwide in 2018, Chattanooga's was a standout. With more than 55,000 athletes voting via a points system, the 2018 Ironman Chattanooga clinched No. 1 for Best Host City Experience and 9th for both Best Venue and Overall Bike Experience.