PELL CITY – Toughman Alabama Triathlon organizers believe this weekend’s competition at Lakeside Park will boost the local economy.
“This could be a shot in the arm for local businesses,” said Ofes Forman, who along with former Pell City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erica Grieve spearheaded efforts to bring the first Toughman Alabama Triathlon event to Pell City.
Forman said there are already 310 people signed up for the Toughman Alabama Triathlon, and more competitors are expected to register before the race begins at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
“That’s 310 people, with their families, who will stay in our local hotels, eat at our restaurants, buy gas for their vehicles and shop at our stores,” he said.
Forman expects local hotels to be full this weekend, with many competitors arriving late Friday.
He said competitors will start the race Saturday with a 1.2 mile swim in Logan Martin Lake.
“The Pell City Marine Police and State Marine Police will work with volunteers to safeguard the swim route that will begin at the Lakeside Park Boat Launch, extend out into the channel, and end at the sports complex,” said Pell City Police Chief Greg Turley.
Competitors will jump on their bikes at the Pell City Sports Complex and pedal 56 miles.
“The bike ride portion will begin at the sports complex and extend down Highway 231,” Turley said.
Competitors will then complete the half-distance ironman race with a 13.1 mile run.
“The run portion of the race will extend from the park to the southern and eastern portion of Pell City, via Highway 34 and Golf Course Road, before returning to the park,” Turley said.
He said certain roads and intersections will be temporarily closed for the competition.
Turley said authorities will Cropwell Drive from 6 to 8:30 a.m., and the ball field entrance will be one-way from 6 to 8:30.
He said Alabama 34 will have slow traffic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and traffic should be prepared to stop in both directions.
Turley said U.S. 231, both north and south lanes, Cropwell Drive and the travel area down to Easonville Road will have slow traffic due to the bike race portion of the event.
“Golf Course Road will experience slow traffic due to runners,” he said.
Turley said Pell City police, public safety aides, event volunteers, St. Clair County Deputies and Alabama State Troopers will direct traffic and assist people through the area safely.
Forman said several local athletes will compete in Saturday’s Toughman Alabama Triathlon.
He said about 40 to 60 volunteers will help put on the event. They will complete a dry run Friday.
He said the Toughman Alabama Triathlon will help spotlight and promote Pell City, bringing people who have never visited the area to Pell City and Logan Martin Lake.
“We want everyone to see what this event does for Pell City,” Forman said. “Hopefully, local residents will come out and watch the competition.”
Metro Bank is the title sponsor for this year’s Toughman Alabama Triathlon.
The Pell City event is the final in a series of preliminary events leading up to the Toughman Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 7, in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Other preliminaries were in Richmond, Ind., in May; Arizona and Tupper Lake, N.Y., in June, and Ocean Shores, Wash., in July, according to the organization's website, toughmantri.com.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com.