2009 Ironman Triathlon kicks off in Coeur d'Alene - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

2009 Ironman Triathlon kicks off in Coeur d'Alene

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Athletes and fans from around the country have gathered once again in Coeur d'Alene for the 2009 Ironman Triathlon. It's the ultimate test of endurance as athletes swam 2.4 miles, rode 112 miles, and run a marathon.

Francisco Pontano won the men's elite competition with a finish time of 8:32:12 and Tyler Stewart finished first in the elite women's competition with a time of 9:23:21.

The annual event brings in about $7 million into the Coeur d'Alene economy.

Roads and Parking:
With all the traffic comes the problem of parking. There isn't any.

Aside from parking the roads will be congested in general, with several closures bogging things down. Sherman Avenue between First and Second Street will be closed until Monday morning. And race organizers have set up bleachers and booths at the finish line.

Weather
Ironman competitors will see mostly cloudy skies, temperatures for the 7:00 start will be about 53 degrees ( water temperatures in the lake will actually be warmer then the air temps at 65 degrees).  Showers and thunderstorms are a possibility for Sunday afternoon. The cooler temperatures are perfect for the run, but the rain could be a major issue, particularly for the biking portion of the race.

History
The legendary Ironman Triathlon started in 1978, because of a fight.

Competitors in a Hawaii race started arguing about which athletes were more fit, runners, swimmers, or bikers. The logical and only way to settle the dispute was to see who could do all three fastest.

So they combined the three famous events, a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.  The first winner Gordon Haller won the competition with a time of 11 hours, 46 minutes and 58 seconds.

Health and Safety:
Health officials are reminding participants and race-goers first to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and cool. Secondly they encourage people to bring sunscreen and to remember to reapply it, as standing in the sun for long periods can increase the chance of getting sunburned.

Lastly, they advise simply finding some shade.

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