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St. George 70.3 Ironman triathlon makes triumphant return

More than 3,500 compete after the race was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

(Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News) Lionel Sanders runs across the St. George skyline on Red Hills Parkway in the Ironman 70.3 St. George triathlon on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Sanders won the event with a time of 3 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds.

St. George • A triumphant return of the St. George 70.3 Ironman triathlon brought more than 3,500 competitors to Southern Utah and saw two distinctly different results on the men’s and women’s sides.

Athletes from more than 30 countries and 47 states took to the St. George area in the early hours of Saturday morning, embarking on a 70.3-mile adventure first by swimming in Hurricane, then by biking to Ivins and finally by running a 13.1-mile half marathon, culminating on Main Street in front of Town Square Park in St. George.

The 250 pro racers started the trek by diving into Sand Hollow Reservoir at 6:50 a.m., with the male victor, Lionel Sanders, crossing the finish line 3 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds later.

Sanders, of Canada, won an exhilarating sprint to the finish line that saw him and second-place finisher Sam Long separated by a mere five seconds. Third- and fourth-place finishers Magnus Ditlev and Rodolphe Von Berg — who won the race the last time it was run in 2019 — came in two minutes later, after having held the lead for the majority of the race. The race was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf’s victory in the women’s race, however, was much less close. Ryf finished with a time of 4:05:27, which was 4:28 faster than Jeanni Metzler of South Africa. Great Britain’s Emma Pallant finished in third with a time of 4:11:03.

St. George News reporter Jeff Richards contributed to this story.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aims to inform readers across the state.

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