Preparations Underway For Tulsa's First Ironman Triathlon

Wednesday, May 19th 2021, 4:49 pm
By: Amy Avery

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Around 2,600 athletes are getting ready to take on the Ironman Triathlon in Tulsa this weekend!

Athletes will swim 2.4 miles in Keystone Lake, bike 112 miles through Green Country, then finish up by running a marathon on the River Parks trails.

"I've been training about two years now for this,” said Ironman Competitor, Jana Rugg.

Rugg signed up for the Ironman Race in Tulsa back when it was announced in 2019, now--two years later--she's finally ready to hit the start line for her third and final race, this time in her hometown.

"I guess there's good and bad, there's no mystery, but yet you also know how difficult it's going to be and the Tulsa Ironman is one of the more difficult bike courses out there,” said Rugg.

More than 2,600 athletes from at least 30 different countries will start with a 2.4 mile swim in Keystone Lake, then they'll hop on their bikes for a 112 mile ride through Creek, Osage and Tulsa Counties, then they'll trade their bikes for running shoes and run a marathon on the Riverside trails.

"The hills are going to offer a challenge and I think that was a draw for a lot of the athletes,” said Ironman Regional Director, Scott Langen. “It's not typically what you would think of when you think of Oklahoma and I think that's a huge pull."

Ironman Regional Director Scott Langen says this is the first of three races scheduled in Tulsa until 2023. 

This race also offers 150 qualifying spots to the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, so a lot is on the line.

This year will be an athlete only experience to keep the crowds down. He also says the start this year will look a little different because of CDC Protocols.

"There’s six foot spacing as they go into the water. we offer a rolling start format. so we'll go in a cadence of four athletes every five seconds,” said Langen.

And athletes, like Jana, are excited to showcase everything their hometown has to offer.

“Being able to run through the gathering place and along riverside and a lot of parts of the ride are just so beautiful so its fun to know people from all over will get to experience how great Tulsa is,” said Rugg.

Athletes can start checking in Thursday and Friday at Ironman Village at OSU Tulsa from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The professional race starts at 6:30 on Sunday morning, the professional women’s race will start about 10 minutes later.