More than 1,200 athletes, representing 33 states and 18 countries, are expected to compete in the 2012 Amica Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island this Sunday.
Among those competing will be two Portsmouth residents: 28-year-old Richard Slye, an employee of the U.S. Navy, and 42-year-old who has run the New York City marathon and was inspired by his uncle to compete.
Slye and West will be among 80 athletes from Rhode Island expected to participate, including George Marr, 37, of Wakefield, who overcame an addiction to become a four-time finisher of the Boston Marathon; David Hargreaves, 59, of Coventry, the COO of Rhode Island-based Hasbro, Inc.; and Dr. Fredric Silverblast, 74, of North Kingstown, chief of medicine at the Providence VA Medical Center, who is the second oldest participant in the race.
Amateur and professional athletes, ranging in age from 18 to 75, will travel from as far away as Italy, South Africa and Spain to compete in this unique event, which will showcase Providence and its surrounding communities.
The event also will spotlight an impressive list of professionals who will vie for the title, including Paul Ambrose of Australia, Maxim Kriat of Ukraine and Jozsef Major of Hungary, along with top female competitors Caitlin Snow of America and Nina Kraft of Germany.
The race offers a professional prize purse of $15,000 and 30 coveted age group qualifying slots to the 2012 Ironman World Championship 70.3 on Sept. 9 at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, NV.
The fifth annual Amica Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island will consist of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.
One of 60 events in the global Ironman 70.3 Series, the event features a swim in Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods.
Following the swim, athletes will begin the scenic 56-mile bike ride by heading toward the northwestern part of Rhode Island, using some of the area’s popular bike routes, and then riding along quiet farm roads that pass by many small ponds and reservoirs.
The two-loop, half-marathon run course leads athletes through the historic East Side of Providence, along the tree-lined Blackstone Boulevard and through the Brown University campus and downtown Providence's business district. The race finishes against a backdrop of the Rhode Island State Capitol Building and the Providence Place Mall.
The race will start Sunday at 6 a.m. Pro athletes leading the field at the 2012 Amica Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island are expected to finish in approximately four hours, with the men’s winner expected to cross the finish line at approximately 9:50 a.m.
The majority of age group athletes will finish between five and seven hours after they begin. The official cutoff for the event is 3:25 p.m., 8 hours and 30 minutes after the start of the final swim wave.