Ironman Boulder is sold out.
Registration for general entry to the Aug. 3, 2014, triathlon closed on Thursday night, according to race director Dave Christen.
A limited number of foundation entries, which cost $1,350, are still available. A portion of the registration fee for foundation entries is donated to charity. General entry for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run cost $675.
Christen said this first-ever Ironman Boulder is one of the largest Ironman-affiliated races in the world. Ironman does not release an exact number of participants, Christen said, but he said the average number of athletes in other “large” races is around 2,800.
Christen said he and other Ironman officials were surprised that Ironman Boulder sold out so quickly. Registration opened for the race July 16, and general-entry spots sold out at around 6 p.m. on Thursday, Christen said.
Usually, he said, it takes about a month for new races like Ironman Boulder to sell out. Once a race becomes more established, it can sell out within days or hours, Christen said.
World Triathlon Corp., Ironman’s parent company, announced in June that it would bring the full-distance Ironman race to Boulder next year. Ironman already hosts a sprint triathlon, Olympic-distance triathlon and half-Ironman in Boulder, collectively known as the Boulder Tri Series.
Organizers initially created a sense of urgency around the race, some triathletes said, implying that it would sell out within the first day or so. Many took off from work or used multiple computers to ensure they got into the race.
Susan McNamee, a 61-year-old Lafayette resident, said she waited at her computer to register the “minute” it was available.
“I thought it would sell out immediately,” McNamee said. “I thought it would be within hours.”
Maybe the altitude scared some triathletes away, McNamee joked.
Some in the triathlon community voiced concern about the race being too large. Luis Vargas, who will compete at Ironman Boulder next year and coaches triathletes in Boulder, said he doesn’t understand why race organizers won’t release the total number of participants.
Vargas said he guessed that up to 5,000 people could compete in Boulder, a number that makes him concerned about crowding in all three legs of the race. Vargas said he was most worried about the 26.2-mile run, a double-loop course along the Boulder Creek Path, which means athletes will be going in both directions along the path at times during the race.
“It’s on a cement path and there are some bridges and in some areas, it’s narrow,” Vargas said. “You have 5,000 runners, some going that way and some going this way on the same little cement path.”
Another Ironman Boulder participant and Boulder resident Wendy Sweet said there are a few spots along the 112-mile bike course that worry her. She said there’s a downhill section along 83rd Street, about 25 miles into the ride, that’s steep, curvy and a “little gnarly” to begin with.
Sweet pointed out that the same section of 83rd Street was the scene of an accident involving triathlete Richie Cunningham in early July. Cunningham and a few other triathletes were riding north on 83rd when a car passed them and slammed on its brakes, forcing Cunningham to brake hard. He flipped over his handlebars and broke his elbow.
Add thousands of triathletes on bikes and that stretch could be extremely dangerous, Sweet added.
Weld County resident Tricia Dixon, 41, who will participate in Ironman Boulder, had other concerns about the bike leg of the race. Dixon said many of the roads on the course are narrow or without shoulders, and some Weld County drivers don’t know or choose not to obey the rules of the road when passing cyclists.
Dixon said she’d rather bring her bike to Boulder County than ride near her home in Weld County. She said she’s worried that in the days leading up to the race, thousands of cyclists will ride the course, which will make some drivers and residents angry.
“Weld County people don’t like athletes as it is,” she said.
Race organizer Christen said he and his race staff don’t have any concerns about the field being too large — Ironman organizes and successfully completes dozens of races around the world each year safely and fairly, he said.
“We feel pretty comfortable where it’s at,” he said. “We know where the point of congestion is. We’re comfortable.”
–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.