Thousands of Ironman athletes to swarm Holly Springs

akenney@newsobserver.comMay 28, 2013 


— Thousands of buff athletes will race down Holly Springs’ streets for hours on Sunday.

Yes, Ironman is coming.

The town’s roads make up much of the cycling course of the famous triathlon, which is making its first appearance in North Carolina this weekend. The 70.3-mile race, also known as a Half Ironman, will include a 1.2-mile swim through Jordan Lake, a 56-mile bike ride through Chatham County and Holly Springs, and a 13.1-mile run in downtown Raleigh.

“This would probably be the largest event ever to come through Holly Springs to date,” said Lt. Robert Parrish of the Holly Springs Police Department.

The town won’t close any roads as an estimated 2,500 cyclists pass through its borders, but staff warn of significant delays, especially on Avent Ferry Road, the N.C. 55 bypass and Old Smithfield Road and Optimist Farm Road.

“It is an open course,” Parrish said. “There will be times when someone may come up behind a pack of 25, 30 bicycles – and most of these people are probably going to be running 25, 30 mph on the bike.”

The worst of the delays likely will happen at the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and the N.C. 55 bypass and the intersection of Sunset Lake Road and Holly Springs Road, Parrish said. The cyclists will pass through town between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday.

“Just use caution and care when passing the bicycles on two-lane roads, and again, be patient,” Parrish said.

A full map of the route is available at

The town will dispatch 30 Holly Springs police officers to line the roads. The World Triathlon Corp. will pay for the officers’ hours.

After Holly Springs, the cyclists will move on to Lake Wheeler Road, downtown Raleigh and yet more exercise.

The race is expected to draw local athletes and global competitors alike, all in the running for a $15,000 prize and 40 spots in an Ironman championship in Nevada.

Kenney: 919-460-2608 or

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