Officials recently announced that the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN® World Championship is coming to St. George, Utah. This premier race will put top athletes to the test as they compete on one of the race’s most challenging courses.

Planning to test your athletic abilities on the course? Or attending as a spectator to cheer on your family or friends? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this event, its history, and where to stay.

What is an Ironman?

Whether you consider yourself a runner or not, you’ve no doubt heard of an Ironman. But while the event is well-known for being a challenging test for top athletes, what exactly the race entails is less widely known.

 The term “Ironman” actually refers to the franchise that puts on these famous races. The race itself is a type of triathlon, though it’s longer than many other types of triathlons.

There are actually several different Ironman races, which vary by length. A standard Ironman covers 140.6 miles, or 226.3 kilometers. The race is divided into three parts; a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. In addition to covering these incredible distances, Ironman athletes must also navigate the transitions between each. For top athletes, moving quickly from one event and the gear it requires to the next can make or break their race.

The Ironman kicks off with the swim event. This takes place in open water, such as a lake or the ocean. In the case of the IRONMAN® World Championship in St. George, the open water swim will take place in the reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park. After the swim is the bike ride — in St. George, this means plenty of steep climbs. Finally, the race concludes with the run. Athletes must run a full marathon, also over steep landscapes.

A History of the Ironman in St. George, Utah

When the IRONMAN® World Championship arrives in St. George in May of 2022, it will actually mark the return of this event to the area. The inaugural Ironman event in St. George took place on May 1, 2010. The heat and the challenging course earned the St. George race a reputation for being one of the toughest Ironman events. That reputation would be upheld the following hear, when unseasonably high temperatures struck on race day.

During the race’s third year, in 2012, a sudden, rare weather event called a microburst storm hit Sand Hollow State Park just minutes after athletes started the race with the swim portion. The water in the Reservoir quickly becamedangerous, with two-to-four-feet high waves. Many athletes were pulled from the water. No injuries occurred, but the race went down as having one of the highest number of non-finishers of any previous Ironman event.

The 2012 race was the last full-length Ironman held in St. George. The following year, the shorter 70.3-mile race was instead held in the city. But in 2022, the full-length race will resume, and the 70.3-mile race will also still be held in St. George, later in the year.

The IRONMAN® Championship Arrives in St. George

During the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN® World Championship, four categories will be offered, including Professional, Age Group, Handcycle, and Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition. As in year’s past, the swim portion of the race will take place in Sand Hollow State Park Reservoir, while the running and biking portions will take place on roadways in the area.

The race is expected to draw thousands of participants, volunteers, and spectators to the St. George area for the days surrounding the event.

Booking Your St. George Race Weekend Stay

Planning to race in the IRONMAN® World Championship? Or looking to attend and support other racers? If so, it’s a good idea to plan to book your accommodations early. With so many people descending on the area for the race, as well as early summer tourists making their way to St. George and Zion National Park as the weather warms, rooms are likely to fill up fast.

Vibrant Management has a number of lodging options that are perfect for Ironman athletes and their families.

Cliffrose Lodge

Cliffrose Lodge, our original boutique property, offers a variety of standard hotel rooms, as well as spacious suites for those looking for a bit more space. Relax and unwind after the race at the property’s beautiful pools and hot tub, or book a post-race massage at the on-site spa, Five Petals Spa.

Watchman Villas

Just down the road, Watchman Villas is a vacation rental property that features one- and two-bedroom villas with spacious living rooms and fully-equipped kitchens and dining areas. Whether you want to whip up a healthy pre-race meal or want a tub to soak your sore muscles in afterwards, these Villas are the perfect solution. 

Several also offer large outdoor living spaces, where you can take in views of Zion’s peaks in the distance. Want to extend your trip for some sightseeing after the race? Watchman Villas is located adjacent to a shuttle stop for the Springdale Shuttle. This will take you to the start of the Zion Canyon Shuttle, allowing you to easily access the park without worrying about finding parking.

The Dwellings

Located in La Verkin, less than a half-an-hour drive from St. George, is The Dwellings. This Vibrant property features tiny home vacation rentals that blend luxury with eco-friendliness. Sweeping views from each unit offer the perfect spot to relax after your race with a little well-deserved R&R. 

Planning Your Visit for the 2021 IRONMAN® World Championship

Whether you’ll be competing yourself or cheering on the racers from the sideline, the 2021 IRONMAN® World Championship is set to be a must-see event. Book your stay today at one of our luxury properties before rooms sell out!