Ironman Success Makes a Memorable Weekend for Polk
Posted on May 30th, 2012 by Rebecca Thompson
A week has passed since Ironman 70.3 Florida, and looking at Haines City’s Lake Eva Park now, one probably wouldn’t know that thousands of athletes, spectators and fans assembled at the park over the course of those two days. In fact, there is no trace of all the bikes that were wheeled around and mounted in the many racks lined row by row. There are no signs of all the tents covering the vendors set beneath them. One wouldn’t be able to hear the sounds of performers like Steel Horse or Joey Foley and the Midinight Clogging Express, the bang of the gun signaling the start of the race or the voice of the emcee announcing competitors as they cross the finish line. In fact, one would never know by looking at Lake Eva Park now that seven time Tour de France winner, and now Ironman 70.3 Florida winner, Lance Armstrong left an imprint on Polk County by tackling the course in a total of 3 hours, 45 minutes, 38 seconds. To the eye, there are no signs today of this thrilling and competitive action-packed weekend. It might be hard to believe that this small Haines City community was home to all of this just days ago, but little has been forgotten.
The triathlon began around 6:30 on Sunday morning as spectators lined the shores of Lake Eva waiting for the sound of the shotgun start. The first wave of swimmers soon raced off into the water to tackle the 1.2-mile swim and were followed by wave after wave until all the triathletes made their splash. After making their way across Lake Eva, the participants then raced back to the sandy shore and raced to the bike transition where they peddled their way across the 56-mile bike course that ran along rural streets and scenic highways of Polk County. Following the cycling portion, the competitors pushed themselves and tested their limits on the third and final segment, which included three laps around Lake Eva to complete the 13.1-mile run and the 70.3-mile course in all.
First to cross the finish line was winner Lance Armstrong, who completed the triathlon 11 minutes before the next competitor and acheived his first triathlon win in 20 years. Armstrong wasted no time making his way from the finish line to the stage for a post-race interview, and the crowd of people following left no question as to who had won the race.
The event concluded with an awards ceremony around 4:30 p.m. where the top 5 male and top 5 female triathletes were recognized for their achievements with a trophy. (See below for list of top pro winners)
Approximately 2,400 participants competed in Ironman 70.3 Florida on Sunday along with 400 young athletes in Saturday’s IronKids event, making a total of 2,800 phenomenal competitors.
An interesting fact was the also impressive social media stats. In three days, close to 1,500 tweets with the #IM703FL hashtag were tweeted, and 4,875,095 accounts were reached using that same hashtag.
While we cannot guarantee that Armstrong will return to the competition next year, we can say that Polk County is glad to have been part of Ironman 70.3 Florida and all its excitement and is equally proud to continue the success with the return of the event over the next four years.
See below for the pro top 5 male and female winners:
Top 5 Pro Males
1. Lance Armstrong (USA) 03:45:38
2. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 03:56:56
3. Francesc Godoy (ESP) 3:59:45
4. Andres Castillo Bogota (COL) 4:01:08
5. Mauro Cavanha Curitiba (BRA) 04:02:04
Top 5 Pro Females
1. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 04:24:30
2. Jennifer Tetrick (USA) 04:26:09
3. Amanda Stevens (USA) 04:28:19
4. Nina Kraft (GER) 04:28:43
5. Tamara Kozulina (USA) 04:31:14
For more photos of this momentous weekend, check out Visit Central Florida on Pinterest.